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1st Wednesday of Advent

May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all, dear friends in Christ, (read text) “My soul in stillness waits for the Lord of Light.”  Light and darkness are so common to our every day experience, aren’t they?  They play an important part in our everyday life.  Every day we see the light go down and the darkness of night arrive and in the morning the brightness of daylight arrives again.  We depend on light to see.  When we enter a dark room we instinctively and immediately search for the light switch.  We need light.  Light is an essential element to our very existence.  Even someone who is blind depends on others who can see light in order to live and survive.  We like light.  We need light.  Our vision depends on light.  Our eyes need light to be present in order to reflect off things and enter the eye so we can see.  And what a wonderful thing light is for our lives!  Not only can we see where we are going and pick out details but we can also because of light enjoy beautiful scenery and look at different colors.  In our world we also use the concept of light and darkness to illustrate knowledge.  If someone doesn’t know something or is ignorant about something we might say he or she is “in the dark.”  The “eyes of someone’s mind” can’t see or connect how different bits of information fit together.

Not only is the concept of light and darkness used for vision and knowledge it is also a very prevalent picture that God uses in the Bible to refer to spiritual things.  In a sense the Old Testament people lived in darkness and shadows.  They knew one day God would send a Savior, a Messiah, they had glimmers of light and flashes of light given them in the Old Testament Scriptures.  We saw one of those in our first reading for this evening.  In Isaiah God told His people that Jesus would be a light for Gentile people, opening the eyes of the blind, and freeing sinners from sin’s prison.  But in many ways they lived in darkness and shadows.  They didn’t know exactly who Jesus was going to be or all of the things He would do or teach.  They lived in the dark holding on to God’s promises.

Finally the Bible talks about light and darkness in one other sense as well.  To illustrate this I’m going to ask the ushers to shut off all of the lights they can and we’ll turn them on again after a few moments.  Wow!  Darkness adds a lot of uncertainty and question marks, doesn’t it?  In the bible God pictures living in unbelief and sin as living in darkness.  Just like light and darkness are complete opposites, so also in our lives here on this earth we will live with a constant battle inside of us between light and darkness, sin and faith.  Until our last breath darkness will not stop trying to get the upper hand in our lives.  We see this in our lives when we are blinded by our own selfishness.  Instead of finding ways to help those around us we often live with impatience, unkindness, or rudeness.  It shows itself in anger or hurtful words or physical abuse.  It shows itself by looking out for only me, what’s in it for me, how can I get ahead.  Sin leads to darkness.

In the midst of a dark world full of sin and the shadows of uncertainty one night was different.  A few shepherds were tending their flocks when all of sudden angels lit up the sky and the glory of the Lord shone around them…why?  Because Jesus showed up!  (Go ahead and turn the lights back on).  In complete unselfishness Jesus came to bring life and light.  To show us the way to the Father through Him.  Jesus came to give us His glory and shine in us the light of truth and life.  Jesus came to give us the good news of salvation.

Darkness would one day spread over the earth.  It was on a day we call Good Friday.  On that day Jesus went to the cross to pay for the sins of the world.  It makes sense because all the world’s sin and darkness were placed on God’s Son, Jesus, all sins, all the times you and I have been selfish and Jesus paid for it all.  It was dark and the forces of darkness thought they had won.  But then on Easter Sunday at the early morning as the light of dawn dispelled darkness some women traveled to the tomb only to find that death, darkness and sin did not win, Jesus did!  Jesus conquered death and darkness and brought life and eternity to light through His victory.

And He’s given you that victory!  Jesus has shined His light of truth in your heart and given you the light of faith in Him.  You’re no longer in darkness!  You know and see clearly where you are going: heaven is at the end of your path!  He’s given you the light of His Word, no more stumbling around in the darkness.  Jesus won forgiveness…for you!  Jesus won heaven…for you!  Jesus adopted you in His family!  Jesus guides and directs your life for your benefit!

Jesus has come for you!  He has brought life and light to you!  No you’re not in darkness anymore!  No you are no longer a slave to selfishness.  Jesus is your light, you see, you know!  Let us this Christmas season be filled with the selfless love of Christ who came to this earth in order to dispel the darkness of sin and selfishness in our lives and bring us into His wonderful light!  Help us to live, dear Jesus, as your children of light!  Amen.