“There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light.” From John 1:6-8,19-28
As we make our way through Advent, we are invited again and again to seek light. The darkened evenings remind us of the power of light as we drive by homes bedecked with light. As we prepare for the birth of Jesus, we are reminded that God has been born, is being born, and will be born again. I’ve had the real pleasure of encountering the birth of new life in our congregation—news of new babies or those about to be born is always a cause of joy. In this season it feels doubly joyful.
Another time of light for me is always the annual Christmas pageant. We will gather at 9 am this Sunday to see our children testifying to the light. Years ago, I remember a priest talking to the children of the parish before the pageant. She thanked them ahead of time for carrying the important task of telling the story to our congregation. It immediately shifted the pageant for me. It was much less about watching cute children in costumes (though one must admit that is always a joy!). It became about witnessing the testimony they were offering. I was there with a purpose, which was to witness the beauty of this story once again. While we each contain that light of God, sometimes it’s a gift to put ourselves in the place of John. It’s not about our role as baptizer, or cousin of Jesus. At our core we are called to be witnesses to the light.
What we pay attention to matters. Any wellness coach will tell you that cultivating a practice of gratitude will make you feel more grateful. As witnesses to the light, we are called to see the pain of the world and yet not let it have the final word. And we cannot be so overcome by the darkness that we stop looking for light. Seeking the light and sharing what we seek is a spiritual practice. So many of our gatherings so far this season have testified to the light. Last week we fed people with real food at Haven for Hope. We fed our community with beauty and creativity at the pops concert. Our worship calls us together to be fed by the meaning we receive in sharing the sacraments.
We continue this week. Start with watching some children who will remind us of this story of light and love. Continue with worship. Help us green the church after the 10:00 am service. Then come hear more testimony to the light in our annual service of Lessons and Carols at 4:00 pm. Invite someone to join you and look for the light together. Our testimony to light in the darkness is as important as it’s ever been. Look around. I suspect you’ll find it in all kinds of places.
Peace, Beth +