If you have traveled anywhere that has little or no electricity, you may have sampled what it is like to order your life by the rhythm of dawn and sunset. I have had this experience in a small village in western Mali. More rest and a vivid night sky were two of its benefits.
Throughout most of human history, darkness was the norm at night. Now we have a “light pollution” problem in developed countries. It disrupts the natural order of wildlife and keeps humans awake for so long that we suffer from lack of sleep. It keeps us from seeing the wonder of the stars.
There is no such thing as too much light in God’s reign. “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light.” (Is 9.2a) This is a source of great joy. But we could say there is a problem of distribution. “Shall those who have light no light let us borrow?” the hymn asks us. We can shine the light of God’s love into the dark corners where despair needs to be exposed and hope is offered to replace it.
Our congregation has been given the opportunity to shine the light of hope into a family displaced by Hurricane Harvey. They were already walking in the light of Christ; they needed food and shelter, community and encouragement. We are blessed to be the “Word made flesh” (Jn 1.14) for their sake this Advent. Their eyes shine with the light of hope and love when we worship together.
Thank you, God, for your light of love and hope in our lives. Shine the light of truth around us, so we may see those who also need the light of your hope. Show us how to offer it graciously in the name of Jesus, the Light of the world. Amen
When has your life been darkened by despair, sorrow, or shame?
Who or what shone the light of hope for you?
How can you shine it for someone else in Advent this year?
Rev. Deb Mechler is the interim pastor of St. Mark Lutheran Church in Storm Lake.