“By the tender mercy of our God,
the dawn from on high will break upon us,
to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the way of peace.” – Luke 1:78-79
I am usually up in the mornings around 5:30am. I spend a little time on the treadmill, shower and dress, grab some breakfast, read the news and try to get a jumpstart on my day. I am not by nature a morning person, but having two teenagers, as well as a dog and a cat have changed my morning habits.
During these winter months, it is still dark outside for at least the first 90 minutes of my morning routine.
And so today, as I write this, it is 6:45am, and I’m sitting in our living room. As I look out the window, I see the first signs of light creeping over the horizon from the east; and I can just begin to make out the shape of the tree trunks and branches outside of our window.
I know from experience that in a short amount of time, really just 30 minutes, everything out our window will change. The sun itself will climb over the horizon and all of creation will be bathed in light. In the scheme of things, it is a quick, but complete transition.
The image of light coming into the darkness is one that is often used during the season of Advent. The image reminds us that there are days (weeks? months?) that can feel very dark. This darkness lives itself out in broken relationships, financial anxiety, worry about physical or mental illness and concern about people we love.
But there is a reason that we light candles during this time of year, and there is a reason that the shepherds look to the sky to follow a star. Light brings comfort, warmth and hope. Light illuminates our path and guides our steps. Have you ever been in a dark place? Perhaps a campground, or on a beach at night? As soon as someone lights a fire, people gather. They are drawn there. Light draws people together.
During Advent, God’s people gather around the light. And as we journey these four weeks, the light slowly grows, and brings comfort. Until finally on Christmas morning, like a sunrise, the light washes over us. Christ is born and we see clearly. And we realize that maybe there really wasn’t all that much for us to feel nervous or anxious about in the first place.
May the light of Christ bring peace and comfort to you and your family this season!
This blog post was originally published as the “Pastor’s Perspective” column in the Owatonna People’s Press; December 15, 2018