Thursday, December, 1, 2016 | 6:26 PM | by ledington
Focus Scripture: 2 Corinthians 4: 6 - 12
As I write tonight, I am at a rehearsal for our Christmas cantata, The Heart of Christmas. We began our celebration of Advent last Sunday and so the choir is preparing to serve our congregation; once again, through the talents God has graciously given each of them. As I thoughtfully encounter this time of Advent, I am drawn to a place of listening right now … and quietly watching, … waiting.
Here we are celebrating Advent and our Scripture this week starts, “For God, who said, “Let there be light in the darkness,” has made this light shine in our hearts so we could know the glory of God that is seen in the face of Jesus Christ.” (NLT) Pastor Steve taught us on Sunday that Advent starts in darkness.
You know that’s how it all began, right. Total, absolute darkness. Then, God said, “Let there be light.” That Scripture from Genesis goes on to say, “ God called the light “day” and the darkness “night.” And evening passed and morning came, ....” (NLT)
There is a lot of darkness going on right now. I have a friend whose husband died suddenly; there are fires burning in Tennessee; a terrorist incident at The Ohio State University (right where our son had his classes his last term;) there are people dissatisfied with our election process; there are people who do not like that they make less than they spend; et cetera. There is not enough space to write about all of the darkness.
Thank God; Praise God – we, as Christians, have a treasure as God’s light shines in our hearts. It burns deep within us. Now, you know that I am a bit of a self-confessed word geek. When I was little, one of my favorite Christmas presents was a dictionary (yes - it's true.) A few years later, I would receive a thesaurus; that was such an awesome tool. I realize this probably explains more about me than I realize, but I believe that you have to use words correctly in order to accurately communicate.
Are you asking, “Where is he going with this?”, yet? Work with me. In The Gospel of John, John introduces Jesus as “The Word.” John also quotes seven “I Am” statements by Jesus: “The Bread of Life” ( John 6:35); “ Light of the World” (John 8:12); “The Gate (or Door)” (John 10:9); “The Good Shepherd” (John 10:11); “The Resurrection and the Life” (John 11:25); “ The Way, The Truth and The Life” (John 14:6); “ The True Vine” (John 15:1). John would have written his Gospel in the Greek language that was common at that time. Academics, philosophy, art, science all contributed heavily to the culture of that time. The more you knew, the better you were, so to speak. It was into a world focused on science, knowledge and popularity that Jesus Christ was born. (Nothing at all like today, right?)
In this dark place (which was considered to be “enlightened”) - there was born - God incarnate. Waiting to be loved, waiting to engage in a personal relationship, waiting to pay the ultimate sacrifice for us. This Treasure is amazing. Take a moment to consider the different ways He identified Himself just through John's Gospel. In a lot of ways, it is just like a thesaurus. Personally, my favorite names as we prepare for Christmas: “The Bread of Life” and “The Light of the World”. As I wonder at the Christmas Star, I consider the Light of the World; and Bethlehem, well - it means “House of Bread.”
One more fun fact, the Greek word for “treasure” … Thesaurus. I do not want to trivialize this at all; and I am not trying to make a joke, just ponder that The Word is our “thesaurus.” We may encounter Jesus in a variety of ways throughout our lives. Remember, there is a lot of darkness, but Scripture says (in Genesis), “And evening passed and morning came, ....” Morning has come and we celebrate that in the Resurrection. It is Christ’s Resurrection light we shine into the darkness around us. His very presence in our lives will forever change us from the inside out; if we let Him. Trust in Him; stop and listen … wait to see Him move … recognize His Holiness.