This year our Advent Candle liturgies will call us to consider the various parts of the Advent wreath. This week we are called to consider the candlelight.
The Scripture Readings this week are:
- Genesis 1:1-5, 14-19
- Isaiah 9:2-3, 6
- John 1:1-9
Early Thoughts: Light. Dark. Is there a more basic dichotomy?
The faith story begins with "let there be light". Isaiah says "The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness— on them light has shined.". John begins his story of the Incarnation by taking us back to the beginning, to the Word who was with God from the beginning, the creative Word in whom all things came into being, then says "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.". Later in John's Gospel Jesus is quoted as saying "I am the light of the world". It is undeniable that light is a central issue in the life of faith, and one time that is most noticeable is Christmas.
There are times it is blatantly obvious that many of our Christmas traditions and language were developed in the Northern hemisphere. Christmas is set at the time of the Winter Solstice, the darkest time of the year. And so we are primed to be looking for light, all the more so in those years before electric lights--because let us be honest, we can completely avoid being in the dark now if we so choose.
Where is the Light needed in our world today? Where is it breaking through? Who are the people who live in a land of deep darkness? Who needs to be reminded that the Light is one that the darkness has not, will not, and can not overcome?
One further thought...
In the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew's Jesus reminds us that we are light to the world. How are we shining?
For more that I have written about light this year check out this devotional.