On light

The days are short in December. In fact, we’re only nine days away from the solstice, the shortest day of the year for Earth’s northern hemisphere. I think that’s part of why Christmas matters. Christ’s entry into creation occurs almost immediately after our darkest days; and even though Christmas comes each year at the very start of winter, it marks the point at which Light enters the world, the point at which the light starts growing. 

In this morning’s Fruit of the Vine Priscilla Hochhalter invites us to consider, in her reflection on Psalm 36:5-9, the way light shows up for us in scripture. In Genesis 1, light is “created by God; he spoke it into being.” And this light, created before the sun or the moon, continues long after the sun and moon are gone “because the only true light source is God himself.” In John 8 and 14, Jesus “claims he is ‘the light’ . . . [and] ‘whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.’” In the first chapter of John, we’re assured that “‘the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.’”

We need this light, and if we take Jesus seriously, we also are the light (Matthew 5:14). God enters a world of short days and long nights, and he comes in the form of a baby — he comes as light. The days grow longer. The nights grow shorter. And we find, in our obedience, that instead of light, there are now lights. The light grows.

Hope grows. Hope grows in us. Hope grows us.

My hope in this season of darkness is that I might be light to you, and that I might let you be light for me. That we might find ways to join together in waiting for light, in being light, in growing our shared light in the world. 

This is no easy task, and we can’t do it on our own. Priscilla offers this prayer: “Lord, I crave your light and your life. Please illuminate and animate my heart with your holy presence.”

And to Priscilla’s prayer, I add my own: “God, in these dark days, grow your light in us.”

Eric Muhr