Thy word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. I have sworn an oath and confirmed it, to observe thy righteous ordinances. (Psalms 119:105-106)
The sounding joy of Advent is light! … the Light that is coming into the world. It is, for seasoned Advent celebrants, an amazing juxtaposition of glory in Him Who Was and Is and Is to Come.
I love light. I love it! Sunrises that paint the world from first light, fireworks that cause grown-ups to ooh and ahh, thousands of “fairy lights” illuminating the shop windows and the town square and the village Christmas trees in European cities, a single candle in a window, and glow sticks and fluorescent necklaces on children at amusement parks.
Rainbows, prisms, a well-lit portrait in oils, and a diamond when it catches the light and sends it back in radiance into the world … I love light. My favorite part of darkness is the way it showcases light.
Today we light the Bethlehem Candle of Advent. The very word … Bethlehem . . . is an illustration to us, and the scene in the stable that night has been illumined by artists for thousands of years. “He is come! He is come! Emmanuel, God with us! The Light of God is come to us!” The cave is always dark, but the Child in the manger … always bright.
Oh, we do lament the darkness in the world around us! It’s so intense these days. In truth, darkness has always been dark, but our Father tells us to believe in the One He sent. When we do, there is no light, no laser light, not the Aurora Borealis, there is no star or sun that can hold a candle to the Light that comes to us. The Living Word is our lamp, and He radiates from our souls until we shine like torches lighting a boulevard to Bethlehem for those around us. We travel on, no matter the darkness, like millions of luminaries marking the road to the New Jerusalem.
Shine on, my dear ones. Shine this Advent season. When a person is merry and bright … when all within is calm and bright … the darkness must flee. The Light of the World shines, shines in us, and the piercing glow of humility, compassion, faith in God, and unfeigned love are as a thousand suns in us.
Lord God, we shine in You, we shine for You, … because You shine through us. Oh, grant us grace and faith to shine because it is dark and You are Light, not because we sparkle. Let us light the darkness which we would otherwise fear. We trust that in Your Son, we are marking a path from death to life, and how we thank You for the privilege of maintaining hope and showing Your love in the world around us.
Manhattan as seen from space
photo courtesy of
NASA – public domain, government photo