During the season of Advent, I am going to do something new on the blog. I am going to try my best to offer a daily reflection here as we journey through this season together. To help frame the devotions I have been using hashtags designed by a group with the Episcopalian church. For example, the hashtag assigned for today is #Light.
One of the common themes we hear during Advent and Christmas that “Jesus is the Light of the World.” This is largely because of the first chapter in the Gospel of John, specifically John 1:1-18. This is the gospel passage that is usually read on Christmas Day.
Within this text we hear the following lines in verses 1-9:
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.
There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light. The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.”
This text was given new life for me this morning as I heard the Sunday School kids at the congregation I am at bring the message in worship through their Sunday School Program. In their music and words today they brought light. They brought it to those in worship, but also in sharing their message on the road today after worship by presenting their program at a nearby retirement community.
As the days grow shorter, and the nights grow longer and darker this week, this text takes on added significance. This time of year is a hard one for many. Those who are sick, ill, lonely, sad, grieving, mourning, etc. For many the time in December and the holidays around Christmas is not a happy or easy time at all. For people grieving and hurting, some congregations have started offering a “Blue Christmas” service. My congregation will be offering one on this coming Saturday in the evening.
In part of that service, we hear these words:
“God, we come to you this Christmas season, with the pain growing inside us. As the nights have grown longer, so has the darkness wrapped itself around our hearts. In this season of our longest nights, we offer to you the pain in our hearts, the traumas that some of us cannot put into words.”
How can people support each other during this time of year, especially those who are hurting?
My hope is that the light of Christ provides hope, room for peace, and the comforting presence that all need, especially at this time of year. How can you help share that light and provide that peace and comfort in your midst?
Resources: “The Longest Night Service or Blue Christmas” by Jim Taylor, with suggestions and contributions from David Shearman & Ecunet Listserve.
Image Credit: Candlelight