John came to testify to the light, so that others would believe, that God was in the world!
Not somewhere out there. But God with us.
And those who believe in the light,
‘the light that enlightens everyone” - are free — free to know they are children of God (not because a person wills it; not because they were born into it by privilege —but that they (and we) are heirs of God’s inheritance…
We are the Beloved.
These are not just words, but words to live by.
It is difficult to integrate something so tremendous. It is difficult to even articulate - let alone have it penetrate your knowledge of self.
Loving self - imagining yourself as The Beloved is part of the spiritual journey that Jesus asks of us. It’s what helps us be receptive to a greater love, so that we can in turn be a receptacle for others.
As proverbs says, “The human spirit is the lamp of the Lord, searching every inmost part.
Light and metaphors for light accompany discernment in the Bible;
Seeing clearly, Keeping awake, knowing thyself.
Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path
Light when directed, as through a magnifying glass, has the power to burn a hole in a piece of paper or leather. Light has the power of fire.
God’s light that illumines and transforms us - and brings us into new life is an essential part of understanding the Holy Spirit and Baptism.
John the Baptist prophesied saying, “I baptize you with water; but one who is more powerful than I is
Coming… He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.”
We believe through Baptism the Holy Spirit is abiding in us. It’s that gift for discerning that God is with us - God incarnate.
Enkindled in our hearts (as the collect says). This light, is the light of mankind. On fire…
It is a purifying fire, that if we pay attention, if we direct our focus will help us burn away that which is not loving, that which is not life-giving, It helps us burn with truth and understanding.
It is our inheritance!
John’s Gospel does not even have a birth narrative.
John begins with the light.
And will go on…to say…
“I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”
We need light for growth. For our very life.
Christmas and the Solstice are closely associated for this very reason.
The light of the solstice and the Christmas Story do not cancel one another out, rather they embellish one another.
We have the light of the incarnation of the world; physically THE Creation --
And Christmas provides the story of the light of mankind the incarnation of God with us. -
woven together perfectly.
The light coming into the world feeds us literally growing plants - giving us warmth…
But the light, that is to enlighten everyone with the birth of God feeds our hearts…and needs to be fed.
It is a new level of awareness.
We wish putting on the armor of light would come as naturally as the sun returning for longer hours in December…
but for most of us it takes that inmost work;
Working to discover the truth of ourselves in our lives with God. Integrating our “Belovedness” so that we may love others more fully.
The physical darkness of this Season is much easier for us to bear in modern times. But we are all facing darkness in our own personal lives. And we are facing darkness in our world.
As I spoke of in my Christmas Sermon, the plight of Israelis and Palestinians is very real today. It is mirrored in our story.
And we see how the story of Christmas and new light and life is relevant to today; The Mother Mary and her birth in distress mirrors what others are experiencing today in the Holy Land. And we hope for the light of God to enlighten all of us.
The birth narrative and the canticles are relevant to today.
The psalms are relevant to today. And you can use them quite personally. They may appear to be spoken from a people crying out from long ago. But in my mind and in my recitations, Israel is us.
Zion is my heart - it is the kingdom of Heaven…and my enemies (as are often spoken of) are things that surround and drown me in sorrow.
Our enemies are not necessarily people, but the things that obstruct the light, our growth - and our life: Be it habits or trials that we seek to overcome.
So use these prayers. They are cathartic.
They are yours, freely given because you are the Beloved
We pray for all of those who are in distress in our World.
We pray for Gods light to enlighten everyone; God’s light incarnate in the world…
…Hold fast to it, enkindled in your very heart.