Monday December 24 – Christmas Eve

Isaiah 9:2–7 “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness— on them light has shined.  3 You have multiplied the nation, you have increased its joy; they rejoice before you as with joy at the harvest, as people exult when dividing plunder. 4 For the yoke of their burden, and the bar across their shoulders, the rod of their oppressor, you have broken as on the day of Midian.  5 For all the boots of the tramping warriors and all the garments rolled in blood shall be burned as fuel for the fire.  6 For a child has been born for us, a son given to us; authority rests upon his shoulders; and he is named Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God,  Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.  7 His authority shall grow continually,  and there shall be endless peace for the throne of David and his kingdom. He will establish and uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time onwards and for evermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this. ”

It’s difficult to miss Isaiah’s focus on the influence of light in this world. Isaiah is speaking both literally and metaphorically. His hearers know the usefulness of light in dark places, but his message about the coming Messiah as the light (reconciliation) in a dark (sinful) world is most
poignant, not only in Advent but also in the world’s entire experience of waiting for that New Jerusalem, that city on a hill that cannot help but shine. But even though light is a useful tool (and
metaphor), we are stubborn. We don’t want light shining on and exposing our darkness—things for
which we are ashamed. Yet therein lies the other amazing power of light: it can become strong
enough to burn. Sure, it may hurt our pride at first to bear our darkness into the light. But once
that darkness is burned away completely, we can radiate the light and love of God in Jesus, as we
were created to do.

Jesus Christ, light of the world, shine brightly in the deepest depths of our darkest places. Give us courage to endure the burn so that we can let our light shine before others. Amen.

Advent Photo Challenge:  Take a picture each day during Advent and share on your social media platform of choice with #stpauladvent
Today’s picture inspiration: Child