December 2 Favor for God’s People
December 9 A Covenant Remembered
December 16 Light to Those in Shadow
Morning Prayer at 11:30am. Evening Prayer at 7pm. Supper in Fellowship Hall at 6pm.
The shadows have lengthened and the days have grown short. Wintertime is upon us. The season of Advent is here, too; a time in our church year that seems to match the mood of winter. It is a hushed time. A time full of long waiting, hoping, and yearning. A time when we wait once more for light to break upon the earth.
As the days continue to shorten and the temperatures fall, we find ourselves needing a release. This is mirrored in the lives of my children, who will once again this year become more and more impatient, more and more curious about the brightly wrapped packages under the tree. How many more days must we wait?
Perhaps this year, we all feel this yearning a bit more. In our world, we reel from the attacks in Paris, all too close to home. We read of our fellow humans questing for hope, turned away as unwanted refugees. We endure the not newsworthy but very important tragedies and sufferings of our own lives. And maybe this year, with one pastoral transition underway and another about to start, we yearn for Grace to feel familiar once more.
Advent is an important time for us as Christians, a time that reminds us that sometimes we have to wait in the darkness for the light to re-emerge. But it is also important because this season conveys the promise that the Light shines even in the darkness, and the darkness has not, will not, overcome it. For just as Advent causes us to wait, to yearn, to hope, so too does it finally give way to the full-throated joy of Christmas.
This year during our midweek Advent services, our focus text will be the Benedictus from Luke 1:68-79, a song of praise that bursts forth from the mouth of Zechariah. Zechariah has been silenced since the birth of his son, John, was foretold; but now, in this child’s birth, Zechariah sees the promise of One who is yet to come, a child raised up to be a mighty savior for God’s people.
So this year, even as we wait and even as the days grow short and the light seems dimmed, we cry, “Benedictus! Blessed be the Lord God of Israel!” For God in Christ has shown favor to all people. God in Christ has remembered the covenant promises of old. God in Christ continues to shine light to those who live in the shadow of fear. God in Christ has come!
My prayer for you this season is that the time of waiting would be a time of hope. As we gather in worship to wait, remember that our waiting is not forever. And then, in the great joy of the Christmas Eve, may your song burst forth in full voice, a song of praise and blessing to the God who always remembers the people. As Zechariah sang out so long ago, “By the tender mercy of God, the dawn from on high will break upon us.” Come, Lord Jesus!
Pastor Dave Lyle
Photo: "Peckham January Dawn" by Richard Leeming is licensed under CC BY 4.0. Text added.