“The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; a light has dawned on those living in the land of darkness. You have enlarged the nation and increased its joy. The people have rejoiced before you as they rejoice at harvest time…” – Isaiah 9:2-3
It is that time of year again. We are finishing up the Christmas season and heading into Epiphany. We are seeing the temperatures stay cold and the darkness still loom. But just as our daylight has begun to lengthen since December 21st, so too has the Light of our hearts been lengthen by the Advent of our God. We waited and watched. We looked for the Messiah as we always do each December, and here he is now. Born in that manger, and we can sense his presence, just as we feel the increase in the sun upon our faces as we head towards Spring.
For us in the Northwoods, it is a blessing to have the second greatest festival of our faith (after Easter of course) take place when the world seems the darkest. When we close our eyes in the dark of the night and wake so often before rise of the sun, we cannot but read the words of Isaiah and see the truth of that picture of the necessity of Christ to be for you that Light that has dawned. A Light to enlighten your way in this new year. That Light which shines in your heart to turn you away from the pursuit of vain glory and to bask in the glory that is this Sun of Righteousness come for you.
We will be spending our time this month in the Epiphany season. We have the celebration of the Epiphany on January 5th where we remember the coming of the Magi, the wise men from the East, as a token of a sign that this Child is the necessary Savior of all mankind, not just particular people. We then have the story of Christ’s baptism as a sanctifying work of every Baptism and of his illumination as the Son of God. This is followed by the declaration of this Son of God as a specific kind of Son, a Lamb who does something; and this Lamb being One who does not call us to passivity but to an active “come and see” faith. We will then conclude this month with the calling of the first disciples. A calling to leave aside the old life and be birthed into the new, which also involves a calling of shedding light upon the One who comes and calls all people to follow him.
All of this work is done to bring us joy and to turn our eyes upon the One who is the Light we need in the darkness of a sin-soaked world. A world in need of redemption and forgiveness. A world still yearning for new birth as we each face the frailties of this life. May God be for you a Light this month as we seek his face above all else.
A fellow seeker,