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2020 Advent Devotional – Day 26

Light

John 1: 1–14

In him was life, and that life was the light of all humankind.
The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. (John 1:4-5)

Video: John 1: 1–14


Reflection

John’s words, in the well-known if somewhat esoteric introduction to his gospel, encapsulate not only the essence of yesterday’s carol, but the spirit of so many of the readings and carols we have enjoyed this Advent. Jesus has come into the world bringing life and light.

And for those struggling to come to terms with, or be at peace with, our lives this year, light is perhaps the greatest gift we could wish for. For in the light of Christ, we have all that we need.

Like the light of a beacon, we have the direction and guidance of Jesus’ teaching to lead us safely into a new year. As Jesus did, we are inspired to welcome, include and forgive generously; to nurture our relationships and care for our world.

Like the light of a fire, we have the comfort and warmth of Jesus’ ministry to reassure us and bring us peace. Jesus, who calmed the storm on Lake Galilee and cast out unclean spirits, knows what it is to struggle. Through Jesus we have God’s presence in our lives to soothe and sustain us in times of pain and fear.

Like the light of the sun, we have the life-giving energy of God’s love to strengthen and renew our hearts with hope. With Jesus we are reminded that we are never alone, for he is with us always. In Jesus, we have the promise of God in our lives, awakening us to the possibility in each new day.

As we celebrate the birth of Christ, so too we celebrate the life that Jesus went on to have. A life of reaching out to comfort and care for humankind. A life of understanding and acceptance. A life that reminds us that we are children of God and always loved.


Everlasting God,
Eternal light of the world, source of hope and joy and peace. Thank you for the life of Jesus that affirms your love for me and your presence in this world. Thank you for the light of Jesus that supports me each day. Guide me to live according to your way. Sustain me with the assurance of your care for me. Renew me in faith and forgiveness that in all things, I may proclaim your everlasting love. Amen.


Reading

John 1: 1–14

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was with God in the beginning.  Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.  In him was life, and that life was the light of all humankind.  The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

There was a man sent from God whose name was John.  He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe.  He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.

The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world.  He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him.  He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him.  Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.


If you’re enjoying the carols each day, there’s now a YouTube playlist you can listen to that contains all the carols shared so far. The playlist will grow as the devotional series progresses, with each day’s carol being added. By Christmas Day, you’ll have the perfect soundtrack of worship and praise.  Click here to listen.


Thank you for joining us on this prayerful path through Advent.
Blessings and best wishes for 2021.


 

Comfort

Luke 2:1-7 – The birth of Jesus

In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. All went to their own towns to be registered. Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was descended from the house and family of David.

He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.


Comfort - Walton United Church, Oakville, Ontario

The Bible passages are now taking us into very familiar territory, as we read the beginning of the second chapter of Luke, well-loved and much-used at Christmas Eve services. Rather than taking this familiarity for granted (which is so easy to do), let it bring you comfort. Sit with the passage and enjoy the well-known phrases. This is a story that was, is and will be read across the ages; our faith connected into a legacy of interwoven threads of all those who have lived before us. Take comfort also in the humility and simplicity of the narrative. This most momentous event expressed in two short sentences. And let that simplicity reassure you over these last few days of Advent. Wherever you are, it is enough. In God’s eyes and through God’s love, you are enough.


Soothing God, slow our rushing and our worries, that in a quiet moment we can feel Your peace. Bring us the comfort of knowing Your love endures across the years, is there for us now, and will cherish us always. Help us to see ourselves as you see us: tenderly loved and treasured children of God. Amen..

Thank you for joining us on this prayerful path through Advent.
Blessings and best wishes for 2019.

 

Light

Luke 1:76-80 – Zechariah foretells the ministry of John the Baptist

And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High;
for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways,
to give knowledge of salvation to his people
by the forgiveness of their sins.
By the tender mercy of our God,
the dawn from on high will break upon us,
to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.”

The child grew and became strong in spirit, and he was in the wilderness until the day he appeared publicly to Israel.


Light - Walton United Church, Oakville, Ontario

Light is a recurring theme in the Bible, and speaks of hope and possibility, given to us all, but especially “those who sit in darkness.” The static, shrinking tone of this image evokes feelings of resignation and despair, of giving up and pulling away from possibility, and ultimately of accepting a life based in fear and ‘less’. God’s abundant love however wants to shine into our hearts and dispel this darkness. This light will guide our feet, to follow the path of Jesus – will show us how to live – into the way of peace. Where we have patches of darkness in our own lives, remember that God is with us, tenderly caring for us, bringing us back to the light – be that gently, just as the light of dawn slowly creeps across the sky, or sudden and blazing like sunshine breaking through the clouds.


Caring God, You never leave us and never give up on us. Thank You for staying with us as we sit in darkness, and for tenderly coaxing us into the light. Thank You for Your abundant love and mercy that invites us to a life of peace and possibility. Open our hearts to receive Your eternal compassion and understanding. Amen.

Thank you for joining us on this prayerful path through Advent.
Blessings and best wishes for 2019.

 

Light

Light - Advent Devotional @ Walton United Church, Oakville, Ontario
Photo credit: Bill Gracey

When all is said and done, when in two weeks from now, the presents are opened and the dinner is eaten, we are left with this certainty: God is light. He shines in our darkness.


Dear Lord, radiant  God,
While we may be surrounded by the sparkling lights of houses, trees and stores, remind us that your light is the only true light; the light that can cut through any darkness, reaching ever corner of our souls. 
Amen.

John 1:1-5

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being 4 in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.


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