Shine Forth the Light of Advent

Photo credit:  Joanna Kosinska

Photo credit: Joanna Kosinska

Winter is here. The days are shorter and the nights longer.  We ward off the cold by building a fire or wrapping ourselves in a comfy blanket.  Winter forces us to just be. To stop and be present in the moment.  And it is the perfect mindset for easing into Advent. This past Sunday was the first Sunday of Advent, and in many Christian household and churches, the “Hope” candle was lit.  As I did, my heart felt a swell of contained emotion.  Here we go… that wonderful moment in our yearly cycle begins— the expectancy of the birth of a baby named Jesus.  He who will be the sacrificial lamb to atone the sins of the world. He who will cary the weight of the world on his shoulders. He who, for a split second, will experience all the pain and sin in the world before taking his last human breath. Oh the love God shows with this unfolding of events. So much love…. But it all begins with HOPE.  The hope God has for his children that we can be saved.  I personally get an overwhelming feeling when I think of His grace and mercy, to show us such love, even when we are sinners.  But God has hope for us.

Does it seem that darkness is taking over the world? Everywhere I turn there are news that make me feel like I have a rock in the pit of my stomach.  I keep wondering “Why are we humans so horrible? Why do we hurt each other?”  I feel fear for the state of the world and I talk to my mom about these fears on the phone.  And her sweet heart reminds me of the words in Psalm 27:1

The LORD is my light and my salvation— whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life— of whom shall I be afraid?

In my quiet time, I turn to God and pray for things to get better. We need light in the darkness. And these moments it is as if I feel God smiling down at me, putting his arms around my shoulder and saying “My daughter, why do you fear? The Light is around you. I am the light. You are light— as long as you follow me, you carry my light”. And I am able to exhale. Yes, we carry your light, Lord. We share the good news of your son’s birth and the hope that it brings. We light a candle not only to signify another Sunday of Advent but to carry the light for you; to clear the path. To guide those who need your light, Father. To shine bright in your love and shine forth upon the world.

So this first week of Advent, let us embrace the light and shine it into the world. If we whole heartedly have God in our hearts, we KNOW that darkness was overcome. So let the words from Matthew 4:16 be a reminder of the season:

The people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.”

Full of hope, we pray and we wait for that star that shall come forth to guide us to the Son of God, the Savior of the World. Be blessed, friends.