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Arise, shine, for your light has come!

I walked this morning where the frost was thick, marvelling at the transformation that came over the landscape when the sun rose above the trees.

Each tiny splinter of white began to glisten and sparkle, to hold the light within itself and reflect it out to the world in a glistening show of wonder. The sun’s glory became the landscape’s glory. “I am the light of the world” became “You are the light of the world.” 

I can’t get away from the theme of light this Advent season. (Not that I’m trying to!) 

The bright morning star (Rev 22:16). The sun of righteousness (Mal 4:2). The true light that gives life to everyone (John 1:9). Many of the titles given to Jesus reflect the promise given in Isaiah 60 that “Your light has come!”

Descriptions of Jesus in his final glory further the picture: “His eyes were like blazing fire. His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace. . . . His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance” (Rev 1:14-16). Your light has come!

But the declaration, “Your light has come,” is also an invitation, a command. “Arise! Shine!” Or, as Eugene Peterson paraphrases it in the Message,

“Get out of bed, Jerusalem!

          Wake up. Put your face in the sunlight.

          God’s bright glory has risen for you.

 The whole earth is wrapped in darkness,

           all people sunk in deep darkness,

  But God rises on you,

           his sunrise glory breaks over you.” (Is 60:1-2)

What does it mean in this moment that our Light has come? Why does it matter? And how, today, might I “put my face in the sunlight”? 

Today, for me, perhaps the biggest part of “putting my face in the [spiritual] sunlight” was putting my physical face in the physical sunlight and delighting in the kindness and creativity of the One who made it all.

I’m also savouring the many nuances of Jesus being “the light of the world.”

He’s the sun of righteousness who rises, bringing healing (Mal 4:2). His holiness presses back the darkness in me and in the world around me and purifies whatever sits long in its light. This, for me, is good news!

He’s the bright morning star who heralds the coming of a new day, offering, in the darkest part of the night, hope that day is nearly here.

And he’s the true light who gives life. He reveals what is (and sometimes just knowing the truth is a great relief!) He causes seeds of life to sprout in us, in me, and draws us to turn toward the light, following his light as sunflowers’ faces trace the path of the sun across the sky.

Merry Christmas, friend! As we celebrate the arrival of Light into the world, may you be deeply aware of God’s face turned toward you in love, his light offering you hope and joy and peace.

“For the LORD takes delight in his people;

He crowns the humble with salvation.

Let the saints rejoice in this honor

And sing for joy on their beds” (Psalm 149:4-5).


P.S. If, like me, you sometimes need ideas of ways to “put your face in the sunlight,” here’s a great place to start:

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Linda Webb

    Thank you again for your words. Merry Christmas to you.

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