The people who walk in darkness have seen a great light. They who once lived in gloom, now have light shining upon them. A child is born to us! He is called, “Wonderful,” “Counselor,” “Mighty God,” “Eternal Father,” and “Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9: 2,6
I write this letter with snow promised on Sunday and the shops now full of mince pies, Christmas cake and tinsel and my attention is drawn once more to carol services and Christingle making.
At this time of year, christians celebrate Jesus as the “child born to us,” who is our light. Yet, I reflect that Jesus born as a baby could do nothing by himself. He needed to be fed, clothed, and protected. As a baby, he was simply a child of God.
During Advent it is our practice to contemplate our spiritual temperature and to think upon what it means to live a moral and giving lifestyle. When we are challenged with our own shortcomings and character flaws, our discipleship calls us to hand these things to God who we trust will transform them into our glory.
You see, our call in not to be the light, but to be God’s glory. We are to allow the light of God to shine through us without blocking this glory though anxiety and preoccupation. In a way, with Jesus, we are to be at peace with our helplessness and insignificance and make ourselves available to let the light shine through us.
This is something I think of which Rev Hannah has been embracing in her town center ministry and reflecting on at the Chaplaincy Course recently held at Highlands. A form of spirituality and mission, that makes ones self available to God for conversation with others but then leaves the deep spiritual work to God, confident that Jesus is the light and not ourselves.
There is a life giving reprioritizing truth here to be embraced as we busy ourselves in our preparations for Christmas and within our churches. We are not the light, what a relief, we are merely to reflect it, being the glory of God and then leave the rest to him.
In your preparations for Christmas, consider and be at peace with both your insignificance and glory as a child of God. Then ask yourself the following questions.
Where do you experience the light or energy of God in your life?
How might you try to multiply your God given opportunities to allow the light of God to shine through you and reach others?
In prayer, imagine yourself as a shepherd before Jesus at the manger. Allow the light of God’s glory shining around and through the child Jesus, to penetrate your soul. Silently sit, warmed by the light and energy of God’s overflowing love and leave the rest to him.
Prayers for Christmas
God of gold, we seek to reflect your glory:
the richness that transforms our drabness into colour,
and brightens our dullness with vibrant light;
your wonder and joy at the heart of all life.
God of incense, we offer you our prayer:
our spoken and unspeakable longings, our questioning of truth,
our search for your mystery deep within.
God of myrrh, we cry out to you in our suffering:
the pain of all our rejections and bereavements,
our baffled despair at undeserved suffering,
our rage at continuing injustice;
and we embrace you, God-with-us,
in our wealth, in our yearning, in our anger and loss
that your light might shine through us. Amen
Prayer by Jan Berry: Bread of Tomorrow
Welcome Christ, welcome baby Jesus,
We are ready for you now.
Here are our hearts – make us your manager
Here are our lives – make us your Bethlehem
Here is your church – make us your Body.
Welcome Jesus Christ.
Prayer by Michaela Youngson: Making the Colours Sing
Rev Julia December 2015