December 1 Reflections

The holidays bring a dilemma into our lives. Thanksgiving through Christmas is to be a time of cheer, joy, happiness and togetherness. But in reality, there is much suffering, pain and hurt all around us. For instance, for many the thought of getting together with family hardly seems like joy. Murray Bowen described the typical family this way: “An average family situation in our society today is one in which people maintain a distant and formal relationship with the family of origin, returning home for duty visits at infrequent intervals.” Added to the stress of “having to be together” is the personal pain of depression, loneliness, addictions and overeating/drinking. Then there is the world of mass shootings, violence, terrorism, bigotry, and hatred of one another. It is as John talks about, the world of light and darkness. Some refuse to look at the darkness and make a “Hallmark Movie” out of life. Others refuse to see the light and languish in despair. This Advent season I invite you to go on a journey with me as we study/reflect and discern God’s movement in the midst of darkness and light in John 1:1-14.

I believe that all of us need a word from God this Advent season. When God speaks nothing can stop it. I believe that all of us need God to speak a word into the darkness of our lives. I believe that all of us need light to shine in our darkness. In John 8:12, Jesus said that he was the light of the world. We need Jesus to shine in our dark places; maybe the places that no one else in this world knows about. I know I need Jesus to speak light into the dark places of my fears, anxieties, and shame. I need to hold onto the promise, “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” (John 1:5)

Is that a scary thought, that Jesus will shine into the dark places of our lives? I guess it all depends on your view of Jesus (God). Do you see Jesus as someone who will squash you every time you sin or make a mistake? Do you think Jesus is some sort of tyrant who tells you to quit acting like a big baby and suck it up? Or is it the Jesus of Scripture who wants to sit down and have coffee with you and talk about life. He wants you to share your darkness; your thoughts, words and deeds. He wants to laugh with you; he wants to cry with you. He wants to think with you through all the hard decisions that you need to make. He longs to heal your brokenness with his powerful light-giving love, so that you can be transformed. My prayer is that all of us are open to Jesus’ light-giving love this Advent season.  Some passages of Scripture to read and reflect on: John 1:1-14; Genesis 1:1-5;    Luke 7:1-10; John 8:12.

Grace upon Grace,

Pastor Verlyn