Advent Devotion, 12/10/22
1 “Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen one in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him, and he will bring justice to the nations. 2 He will not shout or cry out, or raise his voice in the streets. 3 A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out. In faithfulness he will bring forth justice; 4 he will not falter or be discouraged till he establishes justice on earth. In his teaching the islands will put their hope.” 5 This is what God the Lord says—the Creator of the heavens, who stretches them out, who spreads out the earth with all that springs from it, who gives breath to its people, and life to those who walk on it: 6 “I, the Lord, have called you in righteousness; I will take hold of your hand. I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people and a light for the Gentiles, 7 to open eyes that are blind, to free captives from prison and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness. 8 “I am the Lord; that is my name! I will not yield my glory to another or my praise to idols. 9 See, the former things have taken place, and new things I declare; before they spring into being I announce them to you.”
As a pastor, I’m always looking for creative ways to tell the story on Christmas Eve night. And it feels like reinventing the wheel every year. Yet the one tradition I know not to mess with is the singing of Silent Night by candlelight at the end of the service. When the lights go out and the final words are spoken by the soft glow of a single, white candle, there is a quiet wonder that swells in the sanctuary. This is the best part of the Christmas Eve service. Soon enough we start singing and the candles in the front row are lit. One light becomes two, becomes ten, becomes hundreds. Where there was only darkness a moment ago, there is now a room full of light. Jesus feels close as we hold the flames in our hands.
This is how God has worked since the beginning. Pushing back the darkness with God’s brilliant presence. Giving light to those who bear His image and nudging us to pass it on.
Notice the gospel implications in Isaiah 42:6-7: our mission is to be “a light to the nations.” We are called to be a “city on a hill” (Matthew 5:14). We have no light to give on our own. We are a people who walk in the darkness of our own making. Yet every twinkly light, every taper candle tells the gospel story. There is a Light. His name is Jesus. We are called to give that Light away. May we enjoy the light of God’s goodness and may we push back the darkness with the hope only Jesus can give.
How will you “push back the darkness” today?
Jesus, you are the Light of the World. You illuminate my path and pull me from the darkest corners. Reveal to me, today, how to give away Your light. Amen.
ADVENT PLAYLIST SONG
“O Come, O Come, Emmanuel,” Sharon Irving, “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel – Single”