During Advent this year, I am reflecting daily using this Advent Photo Devotional. The word designated for today, December 13th is #Light.
When I think of light, there is one passage that I go to before any other. It is the gospel passage appointed for Christmas Day every year, found in the beginning to the Gospel of John. Within this passage, it is written:
“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 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.” – John 1:1-9, NRSV.
How do you testify to the light? How do you share the light? How do you reflect it? How do you see it?
If there was ever a theological justification for the use of Christmas lights, perhaps it’s this. That, even though they serve in a practical sense in the Northern Hemisphere this time of year bringing light in the midst of the shortest days of the year, they also provide symbolic light. They testify to the fact that “the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.” If you needed a reason to decorate, there you go. Or, perhaps by sharing some light in that way you might just brighten someone’s day by bringing literal light to them?
I grew up helping my family decorate our yard. We were never quite on the level of an epic jaw dropping display, but we always had a nice display. This continues at my parents’ home to this day. This year, as Allison and I are living in a house instead of an apartment, we are starting to share light a bit more with our neighborhood. We don’t have a display necessarily, but we do have lights on the house greeting all those who pass by. This is helpful, especially in what is a very dark and wet time of year in the Pacific Northwest.
The other reason I like to share some light, is just the feeling of warmth and welcome that it creates. They provide a sense of hospitality and a sign of greeting. As this blog shares thought related to the love of one’s neighbors and vocation, this is an important thing for me. It’s important for me is to share and make sure people feel welcome and free to be themselves. I grew up in a family that loved to share and welcome others in, and that continues today in the way Allison and I like to invite others in. It’s one of the ways that we see that we can share some of what God has entrusted to us with others. Hospitality then is a way of sharing the light, as well as a response to it.
What do you think? How do you share the light?