December 2019 Newsletter
“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)
One of my favorite traditions of this time of year is the Advent wreath. Each week it is so meaningful to add a light to the wreath, reminding us that something is happening, but something more is yet to come. The light of Christ grows brighter each week on our wreath as we await Christ’s birth, until we all share in the light of Christ on Christmas Eve. We use the wreath to count the Sunday’s leadings up to Christmas but the tradition actually dates back to an old Scandinavian custom that celebrated the coming of light after a season of darkness. On that day, candles were placed on the edge of a horizontal wheel and as the wheel was spun around, the lighted candles would blend into a continuous circle of light.
Christmas truly is a season of celebration of light after a season of darkness. Jesus was born as a light into a world immersed in darkness, and although Jesus wasn’t what everyone expected, he was everything the world needed. I am mindful of the ways in which the light of Christ continues to shine brightly in our world that so often feels dark. The light of Christ shines bright whenever someone shares generously of oneself to another. The light of Christ shines bright whenever seeds of reconciliation and forgiveness take root. The light of Christ shines bright whenever someone is willing to allow that light to change their life.
One need not look far for lights while living in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania during Christmas. Our city will be covered in lights but the real challenge for each of us is to allow the light of Christ to truly shine in our lives, growing stronger with each day. Let us not just decorate our homes with lights this Christmas, but allow the light of Christ to change us, and shine bright with our words and deeds. I pray that whenever you see a light this Christmas, you will remember the way in which Christ lights up this world but I also pray that it reminds you to spread that light each day with each moment of your life.