Isaiah 60:1-3, 11a
Arise, shine, for your light has come,
and the glory of the Lord has dawned upon you.
For behold, darkness covers the land;
deep gloom enshrouds the peoples.
But over you the Lord will rise,
and his glory will appear upon you.
Nations will stream to your light,
and kings to the brightness of your dawning.
Your gates will always be open;
by day or night they will never be shut.
Advent is a time of darkness and light. The darkening world in the Northern Hemisphere makes us keenly aware of this fact. We may awake while it is still dark, stumble around to find the light switch, make coffee in the dark, and watch the world become illumined by the sun as the day breaks. The darkness surrounds us, however it does not take much to transform the darkness. One candle, one lightbulb, two car headlights, one string of Christmas lights.
We can become burdened by the darkness in our world, by wars, violence, hatred, meanness, man's inhumanity to man and all the rest. However, when we turn to the light of Christ, we find that we can help to illumine the darkness of our world. Just as we sing to our kids, "this little light of mine, I'm going to let it shine, let is shine, let it shine," we also can "let our light shine" in the darkness of the world.
As we turn to God in faith and hope and love, our hearts are opened, and God's light shines through us, even in the dark places of the world. We are not the source of the light, but we can reflect God's light in the world. Just as Isaiah proclaims the ways that God's Kingdom of light will illumine the Holy City, God's light will also illumine our lives, empowering us to let God's light shine!
God of light and life, you send your light into the dark places of this world; help me to have the faith, hope and love to share your light in all the places I go. Amen