Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.” John 8:12
For me, as I’m sure for most of you, Christmas lives in memories. I was the first grandchild born on both sides of my family. Being first came with certain perks, like the undivided attention of my parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles. This attention paid off particularly well at Christmas. Well, most good things come to an end at some point. About five years after I was born, my aunts and uncles decided that maybe they should have their own children, and my parents decided that I could use a sibling, so there was an explosion of children in my family. After that, our holiday family gatherings became what I can only describe as “utter chaos.” Funny how those things later become the great memories of Christmas past.
The cares of the world, of course, do not cease at Christmas, and for all of us, there are people we love who will no longer join us around the Christmas table. Sometimes, it seems, Christmas can even amplify feelings of sadness and loneliness. This Christmas will be a particular challenge for all of us. Because of the pandemic, traditions will be altered and families may be separated. And for all of us, we will not be together in the same way as a church.
During these past few months, we have all had to make unexpected adjustments in our normal life, including our church life. And we have had to reimagine what it means to be a church. It has been challenging, particularly for our staff. But we have discovered, once again, that challenges often bring opportunities, and that the church is more than just a building or a place. One of my favorite authors is Minnesota novelist William Kent Krueger. There is a line in his most recent novel, This Tender Land, which I particularly like. Comparing one of the characters in the novel to a jewel, he says this: “The beauty isn’t in the jewel itself, but in the way that the light passes through it.” So it is with the church. Although our church building will be dark this Christmas, the light will still pass through it, shining through the lives of our members. That’s what the first Christmas was about — light, light shining into the darkness through the birth of a child — a child who would be the light of the world. May your Christmas be filled with light and joy.
Gracious and Loving God, as we celebrate this Christmas season, we remember a child, a child born to bring light into an often dark world. And we remember those who have been the lights in our lives. Help us to reflect that light in this season and throughout the year. In Jesus name we pray. Amen.
To the Writers
of this devotional: