Monday afternoon I was at Baptist East Hospital for Marlene’s surgery. Once they moved her to the recovery room, I walked around a bit as I was waiting for her to be moved to a regular room. In the main lobby I saw their nativity scene. You cannot miss it, the characters in the nativity are almost life-size. However, I was impressed the most with the color of the nativity characters. All the characters were a brisk white. It was like the nativity scene both brightened the space around it and drew my attention. After I stood and admired the nativity, I went to the chapel to sit and meditate. The scene of the nativity came back to me again. I think what the nativity scene impressed upon me was my longing, and I’m sure our longing for the light of God in this life. Darkness in our world comes in many forms; such as violence, disease, both physical and mental, prejudices and other forms of injustice. We long for light to cure and heal the darkness. The writings of Isaiah span the time before Jerusalem was conquered, carried into captivity and then ultimately being allowed to return to Jerusalem to rebuild the city. If you look up the word light in a Bible concordance, you’ll find that the number of times Isaiah mentions the word light far outshines (couldn’t resist) the number of times other prophets like Jeremiah and Ezekiel use such imagery. Early in the writings of Isaiah, such as Isaiah 2:5, the prophet urges God’s people to “…walk in the light of the Lord.” Isaiah 9:2 is a passage used at Christmas which says, “The people who have walked in darkness have seen a great light.” Many Christians take that to be prophecy pointing to Jesus. The writings of Isaiah wind down with more emphasis of living in the light of the Lord. “But the Lord will be your everlasting light.” (60:19) From beginning to end, Isaiah stresses the need for the light of God’s truth and wisdom. In the New Testament, I John 1:5 states, “God is light and in Him is no darkness.”
I have been using the Prodigal Son story as part of the Christmas Homecoming series. I imagine the son in the distant country, sitting in the dark with his all of his regrets. However, what brings the light of hope to his heart are his memories of his father’s goodness, which also means he believed in his father there was no darkness. This coming Sunday we’ll consider the heart of the father that made coming home possible for a rebellious son. I pray the decorations of the Christmas season, especially the lights, reminds us how badly God’s heart aches for us to live by his light. Perhaps this year we all will see where the light of God needs to shine into the darkness of our hearts and lives. Join us for worship this Sunday as a means to seek the light of God.
It’s all About Him