Readings: Luke 1:68-79; Malachi 3:13-18; Philippians 1:18b-26
Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he as looked favorably on his people and redeemed them. He has raised up a mighty savior for us in the house of his servant David, as he spoke through the mouth of his holy prophets from of old, that we would be saved from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us. Thus he has shown the mercy promised to our ancestors, and has remembered his holy covenant, the oath that he swore to our ancestor Abraham, to grant us that we, being rescued from the hands of our enemies, might serve him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before him all our days. And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High; for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways, to give knowledge of salvation to his people for the forgiveness of their sins. By the tender mercy of our God, the dawn from on high will break upon us, to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace. Luke 1:68-79, NRSV
These days I awake early and find joy in watching the light of day come gradually. If it is to be a sunny day, the light seems to come more quickly than on cloudy ones. I am patient with this process, confident that light will arrive; however, I am not as patient in my daily life as I wait for the pandemic to end, for peace at home and abroad, for my daughter to find happiness, or for some new spiritual insight. Waiting for dawn and reflecting on this scripture passage reminded me that light usually comes gradually to the dark places in my soul and the belief that God will guide me through the process of healing and growth.
St. Paul is a good role model for this. In the reading from Philippians, Paul has joy and hope because he knows that all will be well, light will come, no matter what or however long it takes, because he has the prayers of the people and the power of the Holy Spirit dwelling within him. The Holy Spirit guided him to be faithful to his mission. He chose inner joy, born of faith – the joy that provides light even in times of suffering and darkness.
The Christmas card I will send this year has a wonderful quote– “Joy is the echo of God’s life in us.” How will we find God’s light, peace, joy this Advent/Christmas season? How can we be the joyful echo of God’s voice for others? Can we turn away from the voices of “joy marketing” (a real business term designed to lure us into buying stuff that distracts us from the authentic joy Christ promises) and listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit that invites us to share the gifts of ourselves, our time, talent and treasure with family, friends and the needy, to help bring light into the darkness.
Offered by Ann Fowler to light our path to Bethlehem.