|Good morning everyone,|
Our theme for this month: “The awesome reality of the presence of God”
Our Bible verse for today: “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; a light has dawned on those living in the land of darkness.” Isaiah 9:2 (CSB)
Our thought for today: “Light in the darkness”
Alaska is a beautiful place. I’ve been there and I thoroughly enjoyed my visit. Someday I want to go back. However, despite the natural beauty of the land, Alaska is also a place of stark and even dangerous contrasts. It is known as both the land of light and the land of darkness. Because it is located so far north, Alaska spends the summers in perpetual light, and the winters in deep, deep darkness. Winter darkness can extend for twenty hours per day, with only a dim grey the other times.
Those long winters spent in gloomy darkness produce feelings of isolation, fear, and depression for many people. The suicide rate among members of the military stationed in Alaska almost doubles during the winter months. The summer months however (when I was there), have the opposite effect. Living in perpetual light lifts people’s spirits and results in Alaska being thought of as a beautiful place, and it is a major tourist destination.
What’s true of natural light and darkness is also true of spiritual light and darkness. People trapped in spiritual darkness are distraught and miserable. Spiritual darkness is heavy and gloomy. It produces despair and hopelessness. But as Isaiah prophesied in Isaiah 9:2, the coming Messiah would bring spiritual light into the world. And sure enough, once He was here Jesus declared Himself to be that spiritual light that the world had been longing for (John 8:12).
An entirely new degree of spiritual light entered the world through the physical presence of Jesus, and then through the spiritual presence of the Holy Spirit living in the hearts of the followers of Jesus after Him. God’s presence in the world, through His Son and then through His Spirit, offers us a degree of spiritual light that simply did not exist in the world before the incarnation of Christ.
One of the reasons we celebrate Christmas is to refocus us on the reality of the presence of God with us – first physically in the person of the Son of God, and then spiritually through the Spirit of God in our hearts. The lights of Christmas should serve to remind us of the spiritual light that chases away the darkness and brings vison, perspective, hope and healing.
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