WHEN OUR LIGHT FAILS
It was a trip north on a cold winter night. The family was packed in our mini-van as we headed towards a ski area north of Cadillac, Michigan. The hour was late.
About an hour from home, I noticed our headlights weren’t throwing much light on the pavement in front of us. I pulled over, got out, looked at the lights and realized there was an alternator issue.
The further we would go, the weaker the headlights would get.
The hour was late. We weren’t going to find an auto repair shop open on that rather isolated stretch of #131. The weather was cold. The boys were asleep in the back. The sky was clear under a full moon.
We got back on the road, driving a few miles an hour below the posted speed limit, with our emergency blinkers “flashing” as we continued moving north. I was looking for a good place to stop for the night, or an open auto repair shop.
As we moved along, the light from that brilliant moon, reflecting off the snowy fields on either side of the highway, gave us more than enough light. We could see the way ahead.
In the middle of the night, we pulled into Boyne City. The family was tucked into the hotel room safely. The next day, I dropped the van off so the necessary repairs could be done.
WHEN THINGS ARE DARK
A friend said her children, both young adults, feel like the world is winding down. They are convinced we have worn the earth out, and that we have lost our way in a permanent way. Too many headlines are deeply troubling.
More than a few of us may come to Christmas, this December, tempted to surrender to the darkness caused by the lack of love, peace, and justice.
Darkness doesn’t have the last word, though.
A GREAT LIGHT
In a time when life was very hard for the people of God, the prophet Isaiah said this (9:2-ff.): 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.
Later, the prophet –hundreds of years before the birth of Christ- proclaimed, For a child has been born for us, a son given to us; authority rests upon his shoulders; and he is named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
When the world’s answers have failed us, when the world’s light has failed, God gives us a better light…a better way in the One named Jesus. The moonlight, reflecting off the snow, provided enough light for us to find our way north. The truth of God, which can set individuals and worlds free, pours into our world through the words, actions, death and resurrection of a Galilean carpenter named Jesus. It’s as if someone, in a house full of light, threw open the front door and the light poured out over the front steps and yard.
THOUGHTS ON A DARK NIGHT
Tonight, you may be telling yourself there isn’t a candle big enough to light up this broken, darkened world. I want to invite you to turn towards the One who Isaiah said would be sent into the world by God.
Whether the world seems especially dark to you or full of the light of love, justice and hope, it might be helpful to remember:
- God is faithful. That is what Paul says in 1st Thessalonians 5:24: The one who calls you is faithful….
- God kept God’s promise long ago, and God keeps his promises today.
- No matter how difficult the headlines today, John 1:5 reminds us The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness doesn’t extinguish the light. The power and love of God in the Christ always, finally, has the upper hand over the darkness.
REFLECTING THE LIGHT
As the moonlight illuminated those Michigan hills, allowing us to see our way north, so the light of God’s truth and love continue to pour into the world.
I am confident there will be light enough to see our way forward.
And we have the opportunity to reflect the light of God’s love and justice into every corner of the world. Maybe you have never thought of the church as a snowfield, but what would it look like if we reflected God’s light the way the fields of snow reflected the moonlight pouring down through that night sky?
God is faithful.
The light shines.
There will be light enough.
And we can help that light, that love, reach those who need it most!
- Join us for worship this Sunday as we continue our series Broken Darkness. Come back and join us for the amazing Children’s Christmas Pageant in the First Methodist Sanctuary at 4 p.m. Then, stay afterwards for a fantastic time of fellowship in the Great Hall for the 2nd annual “Chili Cook-off.”
- Your Advent/Christmas offering will be divided in three equal ways: Freshwater Wells in Africa; Mission Guatemala Team; and, Wednesday Food Pantry. Remember that Christmas isn’t your birthday but an opportunity to honor the Christ by giving generously to these Kingdom of God causes.
- Our worship schedule on Christmas Eve Sunday is:
- 9 & 11 in the Sanctuary (no Open Door service that morning).
- 5 p.m. Family Friendly Service in the Sanctuary.
- 8:15-8:45 p.m. Communion (come and go) in the Chapel.
- 9 p.m. Service of Lessons, Carols & the Word.