“How far that little candle throws his beams! So shines a good deed in a weary world.” ― William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice
Scripture Text: (IS 60:1-6)
Rise up in splendor, Jerusalem! Your light has come,
the glory of the Lord shines upon you.
See, darkness covers the earth,
and thick clouds cover the peoples;
but upon you the LORD shines,
and over you appears his glory.
Nations shall walk by your light,
and kings by your shining radiance.
Raise your eyes and look about;
they all gather and come to you:
your sons come from afar,
and your daughters in the arms of their nurses.
Then you shall be radiant at what you see,
your heart shall throb and overflow,
for the riches of the sea shall be emptied out before you,
the wealth of nations shall be brought to you.
Caravans of camels shall fill you,
dromedaries from Midian and Ephah;
all from Sheba shall come
bearing gold and frankincense,
and proclaiming the praises of the LORD.
It is so obvious that the world still does not know Jesus. The world - and all that we can mean by that single word - seems to oppose Jesus. The way of Jesus - his kind of choices, his preferences, his way of loving and caring for others. It is such a vivid image to imagine the Light trying to push back the Darkness.
On this Second Sunday of Christmas, it can be good for us to take a deep breath after Christmas and look forward with some hope and some peace in our hearts. God is so faithful. We have received grace after grace from our God. All God asks of us is that we bring his Light into areas of darkness in our world, just as God has brought Light into areas of darkness in our own lives.
Unfortunately, many of us have a hard time seeing how valuable we are. Instead of a shiny, gift-wrapped present, we see ourselves as a dull, brown-paper package of weakness and sin. That’s not how the Lord sees you! Yes, he sees the flaws and failings, but he sees so much more. He sees the love in our hearts, even if it’s somewhat buried by selfish thoughts. He sees the noble desires, even if we don’t always follow them. He sees the sacrifices we are making for our loved ones. He sees our longing for peace, even if we are sometimes agitated—or agitators. He sees us and tells us we are “very good” (Genesis 1:31).
Today, the greatest "gift" for each of us and our world is Jesus himself, the Word made flesh. Nothing, nothing is more perfect or more precious or more practical or more necessary. Jesus comes to us and our world, enfleshing and sharing unconditional, eternal L O V E ...