We have to be careful with the weight of the world’s burdens. They grow heavier as we watch the news, which reminds us of the world’s brokenness. The bad news seems never to end, and the good news is barely sprinkled in like salt in the diet of a friend with hypertension. But more than the news drags us down. We struggle with the promises that never seem to come true. We find it hard to wait on God, while acknowledging that everything will be all right without our being in charge.
I cannot imagine what it would have been like to return from exile and find my home city in ruins and the people who had remained there destitute and hopeless. Darkness and gloom surround Jerusalem and the chosen people of God. But, into that darkness, the word of God erupts through the prophet: “Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you. See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the Lord rises upon you and his glory appears over you” (niv).
The “glory of the Lord” refers to God’s very presence. It has burst on the scene, and everything is changing. The people of the world will take notice, and God will provide for the chosen people through their own hands. God will bring their long-lost and loved exiles back home while providing for their needs and conveying restoration from the farthest reaches of the world. Cue the magi from stage right. As the necessities for the fulfillment of prophecies arrive, we watch in amazement while our hearts thrill and swell with joy.
Help us, Lord, to rise and shine and never stop looking for your provision as it approaches—and to become that provision for others. Amen.
Isaiah 60:1-6 recalls the coming of God into the world as a brilliant light. That light carries with it the power to transform Israel so that those outside Israel are drawn to her light. Ephesians 3:1-12 points out God’s mysterious inclusion of the Gentiles among God’s people. The gift of light carries with it the obligation to accept and proclaim the inclusion of all out- siders. The psalm and Gospel passages draw on imagery of the king and his enthronement. For the psalmist, the king’s power and longevity must serve the purpose of the people’s good. The magi in Matthew are drawn by the light that marks the infant king’s birth and thus begin the process of outsiders who see in the gospel the mystery of salvation.
• Read Psalm 72:1-7; 10-14. How should we pray for our world’s leaders? What is our responsibility in working for justice and righteousness in our world today?
• Read Isaiah 60:1-6. Where have you seen evidence of God’s presence? How has God used you as a light to dispel dark- ness?
• Read Matthew 2:1-12. How do you respond when people ask you spiritual questions? In what ways have you sought the Lord and been sensitive to God’s guidance?
• Read Ephesians 3:1-12. How has God blessed you beyond your perceived boundaries?
Respond by posting a prayer.
Whitney Simpson offers a wide-open doorway into embodied practice and awakens us to the long-held wisdom of our tradition that our bodies are sacred places where God meets us and dwells. Fully Human, Fully Divine is a true Christmas gift!”
Click here to learn more about our newest Advent book and eCourse.