AM Psalm 72; PM Psalm 111, 113
Isa. 28:9-22; Rev. 21:9-21; Luke 1:26-38
When we lived in Chicago, my husband, Craig, taught first and second grade Sunday School. His class was often done early with the lesson, and so they played “Flashlight Tag.” Craig and his co-teacher, Kyle, turned off all the lights in their basement room (which made it fairly dark) and turned on a flashlight. Craig or Kyle shined the flashlight around the room, and the kids got on their hands and knees and scurried around trying to avoid being “hit” by the flashlight. I’ve always found this game hilarious, because Craig and Kyle could hit anyone they wanted at any time, but the children had no idea. They loved the game.
In Flashlight Tag, darkness is where you are safe, and light is the uncertain aggressor. That’s not usually how we think of darkness and light, is it? Usually, we associate darkness with things like criminals and monsters. Light, on the other hand, has much more positive connotations: children can play outside when it’s light and the truth comes to the light. The Bible uses light in similarly positive ways. John’s gospel ties light to life (1:4) and knowledge (1:9) and Jesus declares that he himself is “the Light of the world” (8:12). Light is where God is, while the darkness is where evildoers dwell (3:20).
However, even though light is associated with truth and knowledge and Jesus, living in the light isn’t easy. We are all like the famous prisoners of Plato’s Cave: sometimes it seems a bit safer to stay where we are than to walk into the light and be momentarily blinded. For us, coming into the light can be much more traumatic than simply being hit by a flashlight. Let’s face it, Jesus isn’t a wimpy flashlight. He is an avalanche of light, and this light is full of conviction, hope, truth, and beauty. These are all good things, and we want them for ourselves and our world, but they are not easy things.
This Advent, may we all learn to walk more in the light of God’s presence. In fact, we are commanded to do so: “If we say that we have fellowship with Him (Jesus) and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth” (1 John 1:6). As we celebrate the coming of Jesus as a tangible human baby, may we also welcome his presence–his light–in our darkest places. Some of us may be holding the light of God back on purpose, and I pray you will start to let it shine through cracks in your soul. Some of us may sense God is waiting for us to take steps into his light to live more full of grace and peace. Let’s take those steps, because although the darkness may feel safe, the light is life everlasting.