Ok, so it’s time to get back into the swing of blogging. That’s my Advent project. Not sure what I’ll be writing since I’ve hit a bit of writer’s block these last few weeks. But blogging is back on.
To kick off my new found determination to keep on blogging, I give you my Associate Pastor article from the upcoming (it has yet to be published) December 2016 church newsletter:
A few weeks ago many of my neighbors celebrated the Hindu festival of Diwali, the festival of lights. I saw many of my neighbors cleaning, I could smell the food, and twinkle lights of various colors adorned windows. One Saturday night I saw a family outside lighting sparklers, clearly enjoying the fun that comes with that holiday. As the evenings were growing darker, light was ever more vibrant.
I don’t know much about Diwali other than it’s the festival of lights that Hindus celebrate, though I like the idea of light in darkness. It reminded me of Advent, lighting candles and even turning on my own twinkle lights.
Once daylight savings hits the evenings come on faster. It’s dark when I head home and when I do shopping after work. When I pull up into my apartment campus, I see lights adorning windows from many who celebrated Diwali, or those preparing for Christmas, reminding all of us that light conquers darkness. I think that’s a message all of us need reminding of now more than ever.
With so much fear and anxiety our world seems to have lately, I think the world needs the reminder of hope, peace, love and joy. I think the world needs reminding of the light shining in the darkness and that darkness couldn’t contain the light. That’s what Advent is about, at least for me.
Yes, it’s the season of preparing and waiting for Jesus’ birth. Yes, it’s the reminder of God’s love to humanity. Yes, it’s lighting candles and hanging wreaths and reading Scripture and so on.
Advent is also about a light in the darkness. That’s why candles are lit. In fact, the first Sunday of Advent’s Scripture from Isaiah that says, “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” (Isaiah 9: 2). It’s a reminder that God’s light came into the world but also that fear and darkness shall not overcome the light.
I’m reminded of my niece who wailed at the top of her lungs because I forgot to turn on her turtle nightlight after I tucked her in. I’ve felt like that for a few days now – scared, frightened, full of fear. And yet, like my niece, my anxiety goes away once I’m reminded of the light, when I look up at the lights in the windows or when I’m reminded of Advent candles and twinkle Christmas lights that have popped up everyone after Halloween.
Things may seem dark and scary at the moment. I pray that the symbol of light that surrounds Advent and Christmas remind us that God’s hope, peace, love and joy surround us. I pray that all of us are reminded that God’s light will not be overtaken by the dark and that we are called to be that light in our uncertain world.
May God’s light surround you all this Advent, Christmas and New year.