All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it. John 1:3-5
You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hid. No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lamp stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:14-16
It’s late. You are tired. Life has been full, unpredictable or overwhelming. The pressure to be someone or do something wakes you up in the night. The “holiday” season is in full swing and the voices of fear, scarcity, despair, sadness, loneliness are working their way through the undercurrent of the bright lights, the shiny objects for sale, the Christmas music in every store.
You are excited. This is your favorite time of the year. You have been waiting and preparing for fun time, family visits, special celebrations. The “holiday” season is in full swing and the voices of joy, abundance, connection, are working their way through you in the bright lights, the shiny objects for sale, the Christmas music in every store.
Perhaps your experience is similar to one of these or a combination of both or something particularly unique to you and this year. In all of these hopes and fears, feelings and activities God is with us. That's the promise. In times of challenge and in times of great joy and all the in-betweens God’s grace is with us.
As we move our way in and through this time of year let’s keep it simple. In the joy, grief, excitement, satisfaction, fear, pressure, pleasure, dread, hope, expectation,…. In the full spectrum of emotions I invite you to remember two things and practice them both in the times of strength and times of struggle.
The light shines in the darkness and the darkness did not overcome it.
You are the light of the world.
Now stick with me -if right now you are feeling overwhelmed by the darkness or the challenges or grief that the holidays can stir up in us. The light shines in the darkness. Scripture walks with us to remind us. It will come to you.
Fear is contagious. It can feel really dark, overwhelming, suffocating. Fear grows stronger in scarcity, shadows, secrecy and shame. The Indigo Girls sing “darkness has a hunger that is insatiable”. Light can be so hard to see. We are each given a Christ light to share and to shine.
It may be a very quiet and still small voice that will whisper to you- remember the promise of God that the light shines in the darkness and the darkness did not overcome it. Getting quiet is one of the ways we can learn to connect. Listen for your name as beloved child of God being called. Get curious even in the darkness to take a deep breath and then to listen to your breath. In you is life. That breath of life is a God connection. God is with you. In. Every. Breath. As Jesus’ folks we get to practice pausing in the overwhelm to listen to the still, small voice.
Joy is contagious. It can feel like it is bursting out of us. It grows stronger as it is shared. As Jesus’ folks we get to be light. We get to shine.. Our light never casts a shadow. The Christ light in us shares the warmth of God’s love. As Jesus’ folks we are called to show up and let our lights shine. This means we get to speak into darkness the words of light, love and healing. So if for you this is a time filled with much more joy, brightness and light- share it. You are the light of the world.
Let your light shine. We say this at every baptism. This weekend marks the end of the church year. We close out this liturgical year with 2 baptisms one at our Thanksgiving Eve worship and one on Saturday night. We will say to those baptized- Let your light shine before others that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. And remember- those are words spoken to you also.