Thoughts from the Pastor

A Great Light

“the people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, and for those who sat in the region and shadow of death light has dawned” ~ Matthew 4: 16

Every winter I find myself complaining about the same thing… “why does it have to get dark so early!!!” I know that the time change and shorter days are coming and yet somehow I manage to act indignant every year. If we stop and think about it, there is large disparity of when it “gets dark” between summer and winter and so perhaps it is natural for that to feel jarring every year.        

Regardless, this year as I went outside one evening around 5:30 p.m. (or maybe it was midnight it’s hard to tell these days 🙂 ) I turned on our Christmas lights and noticed how bright the entire neighborhood was as many around us had likewise put up their Christmas decorations.  In that moment I was hit with a simple truth, sometimes darkness helps amplify the light. Yes, it gets dark early, but when it does our neighborhood sure does shine.

This simple image reminded me of the passage from Matthew quoted above. A reminder that on that first Advent the people were dwelling in darkness. Jesus did not come to a world already alight with comfort and joy. He came to bring peace to a world at war. He came to bring true comfort to a world distressed. He came to announce good news of great joy to those drowning in a sea of sorrows. He came as light, shining in the darkness.

This Christmas may feel darker for many as we face a pandemic which has brought with it anxiety, uncertainty, loss, and even division. And yet the very story of Christmas, like the star the Magi followed, is about light shining into darkness. It is about bringing peace, hope, joy, and love into a hurting world. It is ok if our Christmas feels different this year, darker even, for sometimes in our darkness we became more aware of the light shining around us and in us.

This leaves us with an opportunity as people of faith. In Matthew 5:14 Jesus calls us “the light of the world.” Christ shines into our dark moments so that we may in turn be a light unto the world. Christmas is going to be different this year, but Christ has a way of shining brightly into dark moments. May we keep our eyes open as we too look for ways to be a light for others. Amen.   ~ Pastor Nathan