1 John 2:1-17
One of the nice things about working at a restaurant, at least so far for me, is that sometimes I work in the evening and sometimes I work in the morning. I sometimes get nights off. And I sometimes get mornings off to sleep in and come read Scripture in coffee shops. And I can't imagine a better environment for me to be on December 1st as I begin advent-thinking, here in this coffee shop all decorated in green and red.
On my way out of my house this morning I ran into a man on a walk who had stopped in front of my house. He told me he had stopped to admire our Christmas decorations. We have a large Nativity scene set up on our front lawn. Through the years since we have started this tradition we've had reactions like this before. People are encouraged by the reminder of the reason for the season.
In my household growing up Christmas was always about Jesus, and I count myself lucky for that. We never really celebrated Santa. We read the Christmas story from Luke at breakfast and my mom would make our traditional cinnamon apple "Happy Birthday Jesus cake" and we would sing Happy Birthday to Jesus.
It's moments like this morning talking to my neighbor that remind me not to take for granted these reminders of CHRISTmas practiced in our traditions.
It's already been a perfect December 1st: Christmas time is here.
For the month of December leading up to Christmas I want to do what I can to talk about Christmas. Part of me was nervous about it because I know that in the month of December I won't be reading the gospels according to my reading plan, how can I talk about advent then? But all of Scripture is pointing to Jesus and this Christmas season I think this will be an interesting challenge for me to remember Christmas as I read the ending books of the New and Old Testament. I'm excited to see what is in store!
There was a lot that went over my head in Daniel today but I was comforted to read that a lot of it went over Daniel's head too. "I, Daniel, was worn out. I lay exhausted for several days...I was appalled by the vision; it was beyond understanding."
Granted, I have a lot more information than him now living thousands of years after Daniel and after Christ... but it's still cool to read because I think sometimes I assume that the prophets understand what they are saying/writing when actually that's probably rarely the case. They are simply being obedient to God by faith: as should we.
John's message in 1 John however was less confusing. And I found a clear Christmas message in it. It probably helps that I was already getting into the Christmas mood with all the decorations and holiday mindfulness, but still.
"The darkness is passing and the true light is already shining." 1 John 2:8
This is definitely piggy-backing off of how moved I was with the idea that "God is light" yesterday. And I think this is just a theme in life in general right now. I think that my post from Day 12 also illustrates this idea.
"The darkness is passing and the true light is already shining." Hallelujah!
We are still living in a dark world, yes. We see and experience pain, suffering, malice, and war. There is depression, anger, apathy, and conflict. We are still living in a dark world. But the true light is already shining. The darkness is passing. It's almost over.
The first Christmas when Jesus came into the world as a little tiny baby (ugh so awesome) was one of those moments in history where darkness had to move aside. Darkness had been allowed to occupy so much space and everyone felt it, it was weighing everyone down. But when Jesus was born darkness was forced to make room for that much more light.
The visual of the star of Bethlehem comes to mind, but it is merely symbolic of the true light: Jesus.
When Jesus died on the cross and rose again, darkness was defeated. Though it was still allowed to occupy space it's living situation became 100% temporary. The eviction notice was posted... "When I come back, you. are. gone. Sincerely, Jesus Christ."
Darkness is passing, the true light is already shining.
I'd like to just keep and keep writing that out.
This is something to celebrate.