Living Lights

[Jason Bandura works with the Glen Elm Church of Christ and hopes to increase the attention he gives to Advent in this, his second year of observing the season.  Anything that rescues meaning from the madness of Christmas for him and his family–wife Shannon and two sweet daughters–has his attention!]

Let there be light!

The theme of light has been evident in numerous posts during this Advent season, and that is hardly surprising.  The Christmas story famously describes a brilliant star leading foreign rulers toward Bethlehem, where they find a baby whose birth is nothing less than the light of truth entering the realm of men, according to John 1.

One of my favourite paintings is titled “Rest On the Flight Into Egypt”.  It was painted in 1879 by French artist Luc Olivier Merson and can been seen below.

I can imagine the stillness of the desert night, dark as dark can be.  Yet as new and fleeing parents slumber, the “Light of the Word” shines on!  This small family is lost to all others, hidden from human eyes, yet seen and known in profoundly deep fashion, secluded in sandy sleep, in ways they couldn’t possibly fathom.

In today’s reading of 1 Peter 2:5-9, the imagery involving light flips over on us.

Sure, Jesus has arrived and shone into our lives.

As well, he is firm and solid as a cornerstone.

So sound is he as this stone that many will stumble over him due to rejection and disobedience of all that he represents.

But here’s the flip:

9 But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.

As witnesses of the light, we are to be participants in the dawn.

We are called to be lanterns lit by God’s flame, burning wicks fueled by His touch on and work in our lives.  And just as a candle burns not for itself, so our spiritual lives are not filled and blessed and ignited to merely please or pleasure ourselves.  As people set apart, appointed and selected, we are “God’s very own possession”.

And what might the Owner of our luminescent lives desire to achieve through their lighting?

That the lives of those already called from darkness to light (that’s us) might brilliantly display the goodness of God to all.

Who knew that the silly children’s song had it bang-on the whole time?

“This little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine.  Let it shine, all the time, let it shine.”

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