"... and light appeared..."
"In the beginning, when God created the universe, the earth was formless and desolate. The raging ocean that covered everything was engulfed in total darkness, and the Spirit of God was moving over the water. Then God commanded,
'Let there be light' - and light appeared. God was pleased with what he saw." (Genesis 1:1-3)
Across the river from our community is the town of Marietta, Ohio. It's levee on the river has long been the landing site for many famous sternwheelers over the centuries. Makes sense that part of their Christmas decorations would include a festive light display in the shape of a sternwheeler. The waters of the Ohio River on a dark and cloudy night are generally black and ominous, but with the lights of the Christmas display shining down a spectacular mosaic of color is reflected. What a show!
Last evening as I walked across the lawn from our home to the church there was a loud pop and several street lights went out. I guess a nearby transformer blew. Suddenly I was very aware of just how dark our neighborhood really is without the lights on the nearby poles. Most of the time I'm insulated from the darkness by the warm light from above. The experience reminded me of just how close we are to darkness in our lives - maybe just a blown transfer away, maybe a heartbeat away, maybe a sudden crisis away, or even a memory away -- from darkness.
In reality it does not take that much for us to find ourselves in the midst of a moment (or the memory of a moment) where life begins to feel as though the waters are closing around us and total darkness threatens to envelop us. I am aware that for many the Christmas season brings with it a certain amount of darkness. Memories of painful or lost relationships, economic stress flamed by a manic spending culture, loneliness and more give rise to the darkness.
What stands between us and our total envelopment by darkness? Every time I strike a match I'm reminded of the miracle of light and what it is required to call it forth. I can strike a match or flip a switch, but I can't call forth light. I can't stand alone against the darkness without help, and if I try on my own for too long, the darkness might envelop and convince me it has won. Only the Spirit of God can move across the darkness of the water and say, "Let there be light!" When that Light is allowed to shine in our darkness, our lives can reflect the mosaic of hope and peace. It's never too late!
Christmas is a celebration of the Spirit of God once more moving over the waters of our darkness and saying, "Let there be Light." This time God's Light comes in the flesh with the birth of Jesus. Like the murky waters of the Ohio gleaming with the light from the Christmas display, the darkness of our lives and world can be transformed by this Divine Light. As I celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ this Christmas, I pray that God will help me Seek the Light, Bear the Light, and Share the Light. How about you?
Blessings and Peace,
Pastor, Sand Hill United Methodist Church
Boaz, West Virginia
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"... and light appeared..."