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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Friday, December 22, 2017

Today’s Scripture Reading | John 1:1–5

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. 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. (NRSV)

This is a big passage theologically speaking, and yet I’m struck by the vivid image of a light that is not overcome or extinguished in the darkness that surrounds it. The light shines in the darkness.

Advent coincides with the winter solstice, the shortest day of the year and the onset of winter. I reflect on dark times of uncertainty, setback, and loss in my own life, the time before the sense of a new beginning. I feel compassion for others who struggle with darkness and transition, uncertain of what’s ahead. Particularly at this time of year, there can be such a complex mix of light and darkness, wherein absence is felt keenly.

When I discussed this passage with a Fourth Church friend, he exclaimed, “Note the tense: The light shines in the darkness . . . the darkness did (could) not overcome it.” Advent invites us to consider the light that shines in the darkness with assurance; the light that promises hope, peace, joy, and love.

As each Advent candle is lit I try to focus on awareness and practice. How have I experienced joy? How might I be a proponent of joy for others? In this way I hope I might be better prepared to see God’s light and share that light, doing God’s work, growing in faith. This is the promise of our faith: in God’s light, in the light and life of Jesus Christ, there is a beacon that shines beyond any wrong, uncertainty, loss, or even death. There is a light that shines for all of us.

Good and present God, may your hope inspire new possibility, may your peace heal our brokenness, may your joy sing in our hearts, and may your love bring us closer to you. Amen.

Written by Laura Sterkel, Member of Fourth Presbyterian Church

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