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Pastor's Column 12/3/2023

PASTOR’S COLUMN

“Nevertheless, that time of darkness and despair will not go on forever…The people who walk in darkness will see a great light. For those who live in a land of deep darkness, a light will shine.” Isaiah 9:1a; 2, NLT


First Sunday in Advent: “Light in the Dark”


As with many rituals and remembrances we hold important in the Christian faith, the deeper meaning of these expressions, are far more substantive than the commercialization of them in post-modern times. When I was growing up in southern church, I knew nothing about Advent. What Advent seeks to emphasize is at the core of our Christian faith. I later realized I had a good dose of that emphasis in Sunday School. Advent, from a Latin term adventius, means “the arrival.” Some early Christian leaders, possibly in the 5th Century C.E. developed a liturgical (worship-devotional) calendar to aid Christians in following the life of Christ, and imbuing His teachings throughout the year. Advent encourages us to read, reflect, and commemorate the “arrival” of the Christ Child; and in doing so, to anticipate His return. The five Sundays before January 6, a date commemorating the appearance of Christ by the wise men; is the Advent Season. We are to engage in spiritual disciplines each day (prayer; scripture reading; quiet-time); which can bring us into closer communion with Christ. Our world is no different than the world in which the prophet Isaiah lived. There are foreboding shadows; often of despair, war, division, death, and conflict. Isaiah’s prophecy offers us hope; for he says such a difficult time will not last forever. The “light” Isaiah sees coming on the horizon, is a reference to the Messiah. John, in his Gospel, says when Jesus came to earth, the “darkness could not destroy the Light.” The other day I listened to an older pastor eulogize a younger cousin of mine. He reminded us all, that shadows only appear where there is some light. The poet James Russell Lowell said, “God is in the shadows, caring for His own.” Advent reminds us, however dismal things may seem; Christ has come; and comes, to lead us though life’s clouds. This is an expectant time. There is a Light piercing the dark!

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