November 30th, 2020
Hello and Welcome—
Today we read and talk about “a great light.” The prophet Isaiah speaks of a “great light” and the promise of a child being born for all mankind. His name will be “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace.” We also know that Aslan, too promised and provided a “great light” in Narnia in the old lamppost. The light of the lamppost represents something living and alive, no one ever needs to light it, no one ever extinguishes it and it burns without fuel. The lamppost serves as a beacon for all in Narnia, after the White Witch had turned the land to a harsh cold dismal icy frozen terrain.
“The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness— on them light has shined. For the yoke of their burden, and the bar across their shoulders, the rod of their oppressor, you have broken as on the day of Midian. For all the boots of the tramping warriors and all the garments rolled in blood shall be burned as fuel for the fire. For a child has been born for us, a son given to us; authority rests upon his shoulders; and he is named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” ~Isaiah 9:2, 4-6
When you read these verses from Isaiah did you just skim over verse 5 and the words that described war and blood? Did the words register in your mind? I will be honest, when I think about the Old Testament scriptures foretelling of Jesus’ birth, I do not remember the word of verse 5. At first the words were startling, but should they? The Old Testament is filled with stories of war, occupation and slavery. Even at the birth of Jesus, King Herod slaughtered countless male children under the age of two out of fear that he would lose his throne. In the story of “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” the children are sent away to the country due to bombings and fires from the London Blitz of WWII.
“For all the boots of the tramping warriors and all the garments rolled in blood shall be burned as fuel for the fire.” ~Isaiah 9:5
When thinking of Christmas, our thoughts do not quickly turn to war, violence, cruelty or suffering. Generally speaking, we think of the birth of Jesus, decorated trees, singing carols, gift buying, gift giving, social gatherings, friends and family. During the time Isaiah’s writings, war was looming for the Israelites and Judeans. Violence was something the Jews experienced, as they were under Roman rule. And, for Lucy and her siblings they had escaped London where war was raging and raining from the sky. Narnia, itself was in a state of war as a result of the White Witch, Narnia was a frozen land where everyone lived in fear. God and Aslan both made promises of light, hope, love, joy and peace in the midst of the cold, the darkness, the violence and the war.
“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” ~ Isaiah 41:10
Darkness is real, we all walk with darkness or some kind of danger overshadowing our lives, for Lucy and her siblings it was war and violence that took them from their home and parents. For the Israelites, it was rumblings of war and occupation by foreigners and being exiled from their homeland. Today, darkness overshadows the lives of many and comes in the form of bullying, poverty, health concerns both physical and emotional, and broken relationships to mention but a few. In addition to this already growing list, we know have a global pandemic with COVID-19 placing limitations on all of us. We have had to learn to be creative in nearly every aspect of our lives and it is tough. It’s ok to admit that. I do every single day! I miss being close to people, I feel as if my freedom is under attack. I count myself blessed that I can talk with someone about these things and believe me, it really does help to talk. Often we need to just slowly open the pressure valves of our souls in order to maintain our humanity and just simply be human. Connecting with the Divine is life saving and refreshing, a recalibration of who we are and to be reminded of, to whom we belong. I believe God wants us to be real with him, share our frustrations, our sorrows and our joys with Him. I think we sometimes forgot that God really does knows us, He created us and believe it or not, HE KNOWS WE ARE FALLIBLE HUMANS! His love is free and abundant and there is seriously nothing that will shock or scare him from loving us!
Friends- I tell you there is HOPE! Jesus Christ is our hope, our light that illuminates all darkness.
“This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light and in him there is no darkness at all.” ~1 John 1:5
“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” ~John 1:5
In addition, we can and should be a light to one another. When we have the power to make a positive difference for another person, we need to seize the moment! I personally have found it to be equally beneficial in healing my own wounds and it lights up my darkness as well. To change someone’s outlook, we simply need to take notice of them. Let them know they are seen. When people no longer feel invisible they begin to see a sun rising in the distance! How amazing is that(?)!
Questions for Reflection:
• What darkness looms in your life or community right now?
• What “boots” or blood-stained clothes are you longing for God to destroy?
• Holidays can be very difficult and dark for many people. A suggestion by the author Heidi Haverkamp, is to consider drawing or doodling a picture that depicts what darkness feels like. Then draw or doodle a picture of the light you are longing for.
Here’s a copy of my doodle drawings: The first one I call “Faceless” and the second one, “Star of Bethlehem.” I have seen a great light and His name is Jesus!
* If you do not have access to a therapist, consider calling the National Suicide Prevention Hotline(1-800-273-8255). This service provides confidential support to anyone in distress and can provide crisis resources for you and your loved ones. Don’t feel like talking on the phone? Send a message to the Crisis Text Line. No matter how dark things seem, remember that you have options.