This article was originally published by Mennonite World Review

Light emerges out of darkness

In the beginning the Word already existed.
The Word was with God,
and the Word was God.
2 He existed in the beginning with God.
3 God created everything through him,
and nothing was created except through him.
4 The Word gave life to everything that was created
and his life brought light to everyone.
5 The light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness can never extinguish it. (John 1:1-5).

I read these words as Tom and I took off from Seattle for an early morning flight to Pennsylvania a couple of weeks ago. Then I looked outside the window and was awed by the sunrise over Mt Rainier — light emerging in the darkness. Such a powerful reminder, a bringer of hope and anticipation to my soul.  Light DOES shine in the darkness, I thought and NOTHING will extinguish it.

I went on to read:

Our world, our lives, are punctuated and permeated by the divine presence. We need to live in the reality of this, rather than the illusion that the world, our inner world, is still in darkness. We need not feel like we are abandoned by God in a world of darkness. . . . The Word which spoke from without now speaks from within. . . . For us, post-Incarnation human beings, this processionals (of transformation) has already begun” (Celtic Advent 732).

As we head towards Christmas this week through the last days of Advent, it is so reassuring to know that nothing will ever extinguish the light of God, either in our hearts and in our world.

This year seems to have been filled with so much darkness — so many mass shootings that we have lost count; so much heartache for migrant families hoping for a new life in countries that do not want them; hurricanes, droughts, fires that have extinguished life before its time, the threats of climate change, political upheaval and animosity have all overwhelmed us, often with despair. The darkness seems to shroud our world and drain our hope.

Yet there is hope. God’s newness is emerging and will one day burst into our world like the sun rising in a new dawn. That is the hope of Advent and the promise of Christmas that still shines brightly in our hearts and in the dark dawn of our lives.

Interestingly, as we flew back to Seattle a couple of days later, we landed as the sun was setting. Wow — not only does the light shine in the darkness of the dawn but it also illumines the darkness of the sunset. So much hope and promise.

Newness is on the way

As I thought about all of this, the following prayer bubbled up within me:

God of promise and hope and renewal,
God of love and joy and life.
Plant seeds of light within us.
Let them emerge from the darkness,
like the sun rising with the dawn,
giving new life,
where none seemed possible.
Newness is on its way.
Your Word, spoken from without,
Now flames within.
Your light birthed,
in the darkest places of our world,
and the hidden cracks of our souls.
Let the brightness of your Son shine,
In us, through us, around us.
Let your Spirit nourish and grow it,
until wholeness pushes up
through the broken surface of things,
and green shoots emerge
with the promise of life and hope and truth.

Christine Sine is co-founder, along with her husband, Tom Sine, of Mustard Seed Associates, an organization to assist churches and Christian organizations to engage the challenges of the 21st century. She writes at Godspace, where this post originally appeared.

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