Light. What we have gathered together this night to celebrate - the light of Christ breaking into our lives. The light of Christ that transforms us, that will not leave us alone. The light that shines through us after it sinks into our hearts.
The scriptures read this evening don’t necessarily tell the traditional Christmas story, but they do speak of light. The light that Christ asks us to boldly shine, like a city on a hill. The light that Christ asks us not to keep a secret.
Here’s the thing - all baptized Christians are children of the light - sent forth to enlighten or illuminate the world. When we put on Christ at our baptisms - we shine forth his light. We seek to share that light with others. And perhaps there is no better time to share that light with this world than the season of Christmas. During a time of hustle and bustle, when folks are frantically trying to get one more thing crossed off their to-do list, we are invited to simply be and shine forth the light of Christ. To stand as a reminder that Christmas is about more than plastic smiles, and trees, and presents - its about Lord Jesus Christ, light in our darkness. And that is a message the world is deserpately in need of.
But shining forth the light of Christ also requires a stance of patience. Patience and hope in the One whom our soul waits for. We are not necessarily the most patient culture - we often want God’s light to appear now, God’s promises to come true now, we may even pray “Lord give me patience, and give it to me now”. But according to Catholic writer, Henri Nouwen, patience isn’t what we think it is. It isn’t just waiting to see what will happen. It is “a willingness to stay where we are and live the situation out to the full in the belief that something hidden there will manifest itself.” In other words, being patient, allows us to stay in one place, shining forth the light of Christ, even if we do not fully realize in this day an time, how we are doing so. In the words of 1 Peter, to be attentive as a lamp shining in a dark place.
One of the things I love about celebrating the season of Advent, the season of light and waiting, here at Roseville is the deep, dark blue, we have the fills the alter area during this season. The color of the night sky dotted with stars. The color bursting with possibility. The color of darkness wanting to spill over into light. According to devotional author Patricia Farris, this type of blue represents “the light we perceive before we see it, because we have longed for it and yearned for it to come into our darkness.”
I love this color blue because it is at the intersection of patience and light. The threshold of the Reign of God. It invites proclamation of the message of the light. The message I hope that we leave this place shining forth this evening. As Christ’s disciples, we are called forth to go, filled with light, to proclaim hope - the hope that can only be born through the light of Christ’s love.For in the words of poet Ann Weems,
“When the Holy Child is born in our hearts
there is a rain of stars
a rushing of angels
a blaze of candles
this God bursts into our lives.
Love is running through the streets.”
Brothers and sisters, this is the light and love that is in you. This is the light and love we have gathered together to celebrate. May it not be contained to this place - but burst out into the streets, as we shine it forth, wherever we may find ourselves - burning the blaze of hope.