Finding Faith: Celebrating the light

On Dec. 26, sitting amid a pile of unwrapped presents and an abundance of pine needles — the clutter that comes in the wake of Christmas morning celebration — my usually effervescent youngest son looked oddly forlorn.

“How can you be sad with all of this joy?” I asked him.

He simply said, “Christmas is over, Daddy.”

Ah, I remember being a small boy and thinking the same thing despite my parents’ and my church’s explaining that, in fact, no, Christmas has just begun.

The prophet Isaiah tells us “Arise, shine; for your light has come and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you … Nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn” (Is. 60.1, 3 NRSV).

When light comes into a dark room, that room is instantly transformed. Immediately, the difference is noticeable, if not profound. No matter how much darkness is added to the room, the light overcomes it (Jn. 1.5). Likewise, for others seeking light in the darkness, they will see our light miles away. And they will come.

This is the gift we’ve been given; our light has come, Isaiah tells us.

In the hangover and grog of Advent, Christmas and Epiphany, the gift is now ready to be used. The anticipation of receiving a gift that was promised truly is much of the beauty; however, once that light is turned on, we are blessed to enjoy it, to feel its warmth and to share it with all who seek it. For the light is abundant. The world tells us that all we possess is finite; not this. One little light can be seen for miles away in a sea of darkness. It is the abundance of eternity in God’s presence.

However, it does no good if we keep this light all to ourselves — our so-called personal relationship with the light.

“Nations will come to your light.” Those nations are all who seek to fill that God-shaped hole smack in the middle of their very beings. Holes that have them searching for something — anything — to fill that space: bigger houses, more money, addictions, power, control … The only thing that will fill that dark space is true light. And that light came down for all of us, all who search maybe their entire lives looking to fill that void.

In a time of resolutions and promises, do this: Know the nations are coming to you for that abundance that you have been given. And then simply share it. Open your shutters and your doors and your heart and simply let that light bless them as you have been blessed.

The gift of Christ in the world was given at Christmas, and it’s a gift that never stops being new and always renews and transforms. Let us always celebrate the light.

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Christopher Passante is the pastor at Trinity United Methodist Church in Bellefonte and The Gathering emergent worship. Details: www.TrinityBellefonte.com and reach him at cpassante@susumc.org.

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