Lighting up the Darkness:To All Who Hope -December 16

Stagnaro-LIGHT
Carl Bloch (1834-1890), “Transfiguration of Jesus”

Have you ever looked at the stars and felt incredibly small? Star gazing seems to elicit a few reactions. We either are in awe of the vastness of space, the God who created it, or the mystery of how God could create something so vast could possibly care about someone so small as each of us…to name a few. When we turn on the TV or look at our news, or talk to our neighbors, we seem to gravitate toward the stories where someone significant touched the life of an “unknown”. Undercover Boss, celebrities or the wealthy paying off everyone’s layaway for Christmas, Secret Santa handing out money, or even someone leaving a very generous tip for a server seems to lift our spirits and renew a sense of the Holy in our midst. We like to think that we matter, even if some much else may create a feeling to the contrary each day.

A single verse in John’s narrative of The Light that has come, John 1:14, tells of how The Light came to us, became part of us, our environment, our world. It came to people just like us. Not to Caesar in Rome. Not to the King in Jerusalem. Not to the religious officials that thought God’s favor was theirs to keep or share. It came to shepherds, foreign travelers, and a woman who’s only fame was in her devotion to God and her carpenter fiancé. The story about His actual arrival is found in Luke 2:4-20.

Throughout the Gospels, we find stories about a King inviting the poor and stranger to a banquet, a wealthy person entrusting his wealth to servants, a pair of rich sinners being visited by Jesus (one called8 to be a disciple), and the list goes on. Each story is an example of how the Light in Jesus was used to bring light to others and bring others to the Light. There is even an event, called the Transfiguration, where Jesus actually embodies the Light and His face shines bright, revealing just what John had said. The Light went into the darkness where people lived, illuminated their lives, and repelled the darkness in those who should have been givers of God’s Light, but had consumed it for themselves.

We often look at the stars and their numbers, size, longevity, and brilliance, but their entire existence is simply to point to the Creator of the universe. How their balance of gravity and orbits are all set in place perfectly and how their existence is merely individual parts of that creation. We were created in God’s own image and as such, we are far more valuable than the largest star, the oldest tree, the purest gold, or even the angels that were sent to tell Mary she was going to have a child or the shepherds that the Messiah was born. That girl, those shepherds, the poor, the forgotten, the abused, the small, the old, the weak, the injured, and everyone else that had been told that God only loves the perfect and powerful were the ones that God’s Light was sent to dwell among.

God does not marvel about the stars, planets, or the land, He only sees us, His greatest creation. It is to us He has sent the Light to dwell, not just shine and leave after a short time. The Light came to be known and to know us. God’s face was never seen except in part, if even that, ever before in history. But that same Light of God’s face, that Moses could not gaze upon, is the face of the Savior that sees us face to face and we can hear with our own ears and hearts. Everything that God is was sent in that Light, His Son.

For many, this season leaves people feeling alone. It is a season that can be shrouded in darkness because of family riffs, the mourning of a loved one no longer present, or a reminder of what was but no longer is. In my own life, I am reminded for the great Christmas celebrations I once enjoyed with loved ones, and how different life is now. “family” has changed over several times to reveal new blessings, but also a great sadness in the revelation that only a glimpse remains. Each loss brought new struggles and it can be overwhelming with the desire to just quit.

The Good News is not only that God is present and knows that pain and darkness, He is ready to shine His Light, visit us, and remain with us. God’s Messiah was called Emmanuel, “God with us” for a reason. He came 700 years after Isaiah prophesied about Him, long after people had given up hope. He came at a time that was in greatest need of Light, a time where it was the darkest so that the brilliance of His presence would be best observed and absorbed. The lame walked, the dumb spoke, the deaf heard, the blind saw, and the lost were found again. I pray that if your own life is shrouded in darkness for whatever reason it may be, you will know that the Light has come to dwell with you. And if you have the Light as a part of your own life already, shine it bright so that others may know its warmth and comfort for themselves.

Have I received the message that God has come to dwell with me?

Do I open myself up to shine the Light that came to me with others?

Who do I know that needs some Light in their darkness?

The world waits for a miracle
The heart longs for a little bit of hope
Oh come, oh come, Emmanuel
A child prays for peace on Earth
And she’s calling out from a sea of hurt
Oh come, oh come, Emmanuel
And can you hear the angels singing
Glory to the light of the world
Glory, the light of the world is here
The drought breaks with the tears of a mother
A baby’s cry is the sound of love
Come down, come down, Emmanuel
He is the song for the suffering
He is Messiah, the Prince of Peace has come
He has come, Emmanuel
Glory to the light of the world
Glory to the light of the world
Glory to the light of the world
Glory to the light of the world
For all who wait
For all who hunger
For all who’ve prayed
For all who wonder
Behold your King
Behold Messiah
Emmanuel, Emmanuel
Glory to the light of the world
Glory to the light of the world
Glory to the light of the world
Behold your King
Behold Messiah
Emmanuel, Emmanuel
The world waits for the miracle
The heart longs for a little bit of hope
Oh come, oh come Emmanuel
Songwriters: Lauren Daigle / Paul Duncan / Paul Mabury
Light Of The World lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Essential Music Publishing, Capitol Christian Music Group
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