Lent Devotional: Darkness

“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.”

Genesis 1:1-5 ESV

From the beginning, light has been good. It is human nature to avoid the darkness.

In the darkness, we cannot find our way. We stumble. In the darkness, we face the unknown. We feel afraid. In the darkness, our thoughts may be overcome with fear, worry, doubt and worst-case-scenarios. Darkness is hard.

In the darkness, we want to close ourselves off, pull inward, hide in our fear. In the darkness, we want to cling desperately on to anything that will make us feel more secure.

In this time of pandemic, are we in a time of darkness? Consider this familiar passage:

“And when the sixth hour had come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour. And in the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, ““Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachtani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” And some of the bystanders hearing it said, “Behold, he is calling Elijah.” And someone ran and filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on a reed and gave it to him to drink, saying, “Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to take him down.” And Jesus uttered a loud cry and breathed his last.”

Mark 15:33-37 ESV

At Jesus’ death, his followers were swept into darkness. Imagine their fear and uncertainty. The bad news just kept coming. Many ran and hid, denying the hope they knew in their teacher, afraid of persecution, scared of the dark. Perhaps we are living in a week in which we can relate a little too well.

And yet, the story does not end in darkness. Oh people of faith! Remember that we are resurrection people! The story never ends in darkness. In the famous words of Frederick Buechner, “Resurrection means the worst thing is never the last thing.”

In this time of apparent darkness, we are called to be the children of light, the people of faith we have been all along. With renewed meaning, we can hold securely on to promises of Scripture 1 John 1:5 “This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all.” and Psalm 18:28 “For You light my lamp; The LORD my God illumines my darkness.”

My prayer for you today is that you find hope in remembering that you are a child of God. God is faithful to light our path, God will guide us through any darkness, God will overcome the darkness.

My urging for you is to be a light for others today. Reach out to ones who may feel hopeless, lost and alone. Pray for people who are afraid. Check in on neighbors. As you share a message of compassion, hope, love and concern for a neighbor today, may you also find peace in remembering that you are a person who knows the Good News.

Suggested scriptures for today: John 1:1-5, Psalm 139

Reflection Questions: What is a practical way you can be hope and peace and love in your community right now? Who is one person you can reach out to today who may need to know someone cares about them?

Light – An Advent Devotional

During Advent this year (Dec. 2-25) we are having an Advent Photo Challenge! You are invited to participate for any of the topics. Each day I will also send out an accompanying short devotional on the day’s topic. Feel free to share it. Be blessed, Erin

Today’s word: Light.

Photo of downtown Grapevine, Texas, the “Christmas Capital of Texas”

From John 1:1-5 ESV:

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was in the beginning with God.  All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.  In him was life, and the life was the light of men.  The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

Throughout Scripture, light is used as a symbol for God, faith and holiness. We are reminded in Psalm 119 that God’s word is a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path.

In the northern hemisphere, Advent takes place during winter. The hours of daylight are limited. At my house it means the dinner dishes are barely put away and already it is dark outside.

What a perfect time of year for Christmas lights to remind us of the light of the world. No matter what kind of darkness we face – whether it’s natural disasters, financial stress, physical ailments, loneliness – there is no darkness that cannot be overcome by light.

Even the smallest glimmer of light can be a source of hope and faith.

This Advent, I invite you to look at Christmas lights anew. As they twinkle, they are beautiful. As reminders of God’s ever-present hope and faithfulness, they are breathtaking. May you pause this year to remember that.

Prayer:
God of light, in you there is no darkness at all. We pray that, whatever we may face, we can remember that you are faithful to bring us hope. Allow us to be a light to others who may need to know your love. Amen.