… that what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled:
“The land of Zeb’ulun and the land of Naph’tali, toward the sea, across the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles–
the people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, and for those who sat in the region and shadow of death light has dawned.” (Matthew 4:14-16)
Lord Jesus, as we light our tree and our Advent candles today, we will rejoice, not for Christmastide alone, but that we may celebrate it in the truth of Your birth and in the sober majesty of your Passion and Resurrection.
This Child, this birth, this purpose, this life, His Sonship, our salvation, the Father’s forgiveness … now it begins.
Again today, as our Christmas joys draw near, as families gather, we take these moments to remember those in darkness. We celebrate, we rejoice, but we do not leave others behind. You are the Light of Life, gracious God. In Your light, may they see light, as once we did.
We celebrate, and they stand outside. We have invited them in, and they didn’t come. We went out to them and they ran away, but Your light reaches around every corner. Their darkness has not been able to extinguish the gleam of love for them that shines in our hearts.
They will come, because they cannot believe without You, and You cannot forget our prayers for them. Some of us never celebrate without a lonely, wounded place where someone loved ought to be, but celebrate we do.
They are not our Christmas … You are, Lord God, and we are going to rejoice in every moment of this joyous time. You have taken us for Your own and filled us with Your Good Spirit, and goodness knows how to rejoice, how to enjoy all You have accomplished and how to trust all that You have promised. In You, we celebrate and mourn all at once, for You reign in light. No matter how dark the world or how dark one life may be, our mourning will be turned to joy, and that is real, and that is glorious, for that’s Your Word to us, and Your Son has dawned in our hearts.
Merry Christmas, Lord Jesus, and thank You for it.
Fyodor Bruni, 1858