Advent 2023 – Week One

KaraLyn Sept   -  

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness covered the surface of the watery depths, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters. Then God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” There was an evening, and there was a morning: one day. -Genesis 1:1-3csb

As The Church turns to the season of Advent, it seems as if Creation itselfs enacts the principles of waiting in hope for light to dispel darkness. We wake in the dark, lose light in the afternoon before we’re ready and find ourselves longing for the heat of the same sun that we hid from mere months ago.

But despite the shorter days and longer nights of this season, the story of Advent does not actually begin with darkness. In the same way the Gospel does not begin with sin, but with a good God creating goodness out of his own abundant goodness, the story of Advent begins with the True Light himself.

What we sometimes forget is that even before the spirit of God hovered over the darkness- light existed in the eternal God. The biblical writers remind us that “God is light, and there is absolutely no darkness in him”(1 John 1:5.) He is the “Father of Lights who does not change like shifting shadows”(James 1:17) and the Immortal One who dwells in unapproachable light(1 Tim. 1:6.)

In the opening scene of Genesis, the moment his first command “Let there be..” was obeyed, God’s light filled the earth. Empty chaos was conquered by ordered beauty. Darkness was put into submission to the light once for all. Its boundaries established, it would no longer rule over a formless, unordered earth. Instead God set lights in the expanse of the sky to rule over day and night and to separate light from darkness(Gen. 1:15). These heavenly lights were to carry his light to the earth, serving as neverending signs for seasons and days and years

And they do! Day after day, night after night, sun, moon and stars never fail to carry light to the earth, a physical reality illuminating a beautiful spiritual truth: “For God who said Let Light shine out of darkness, has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of God’s glory in the face of Jesus Christ”(2 Cor. 4:6.) As confident we are that the sun will eventually rise each morning, we can be assured that God never stops shining his truth and goodness upon his creation. Because of his great love, we are not consumed. Even by the darkest December afternoon. God is light…and this story begins with him.

Read Psalm 19:1-9 today, paying attention to the way it points to God as the one who brings both physical and spiritual light:

The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky proclaims the work of His hands. Day after day they pour out speech; night after night they communicate knowledge. There is no speech; there are no words; their voice is not heard. Their message has gone out to all the earth, and their words to the ends of the inhabited world. In the heavens He has pitched a tent for the sun. It is like a groom coming from the bridal chamber; it rejoices like an athlete running a course. It rises from one end of the heavens and circles to their other end; nothing is hidden from its heat. The instruction of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the Lord is trustworthy, making the inexperienced wise. The precepts of the Lord are right, making the heart glad; the commandment of the Lord is radiant, making the eyes light up. The fear of the Lord is pure, enduring forever; the ordinances of the Lord are reliable and altogether righteous. -Psalm 19:1-9

God, this Advent season we worship you as the True Light who gives light to the world, in whom there is no darkness. We need your light to shine into the darkness of our world and our own life; to comfort, guide and illuminate. We thank you for the light of your never ending truth and faithfulness. By your Holy Spirit, we ask you to fill us with the light of your love, that it may flow through us and out to a world that so desperately needs to see. Amen.