by Christine Sine

Recently, June and I visited one of our favorite gardens: Desert Botanical Garden, Phoenix, AZ.
As I was walking along, I was struck by the effect of the sunlight on the plants around me.
They glistened.
They created contrasts in the green foliage.
They begged for a deeper, longer look.
They sparkled with the delight of the Creator.
 It was glorious to behold.
Artists work a lifetime to capture the light perfectly on a canvas.
As an amateur photographer, I try to do the same.
It is a delight when others notice that the artist or photographer has captured
the essence of the luminosity of a scene.
As I was walking along, I thought about how the Advent season is often described as a season of light.

The ancient prophets talked about a time when a light would be born into the world.
Isaiah 9:1-2, New International Version
“Nevertheless, there will be no more gloom for those who were in distress.
In the past he humbled the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali,
but in the future he will honor Galilee of the nations,
by the Way of the Sea, beyond the Jordan—
2 The people walking in darkness have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.”
When Joseph and Mary took eight-day old Jesus to the temple, they met the prophet, Simeon.
Here is Luke’s account from Luke 2:27-32 (New International Version)
“Simeon took him (Jesus) in his arms and praised God, saying:
Sovereign Lord, as you have promised,
you may now dismiss your servant in peace.
For my eyes have seen your salvation,
which you have prepared in the sight of all nations:
a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
and the glory of your people Israel.”
It is for a good reason that Advent is celebrated as a season of light:
Jesus the light of the world is the centerpiece of the season.
I just read a news piece about the current state of Bethlehem where Jesus was born. The author writes, “The baby Jesus lies in the rubble in one of the churches (not the Church of the Nativity, this author’s note).”
Yet, even, the current tragedy of the events in Israel, Gaza and West Bank cannot dim the light that that shone that first Christmas.

Our lives may appear to be a surviving under a pile of rubble,
Some of our own making
 Some caused by others and even nature itself,
Yet; the baby Jesus is there among it all.
The light is shining brightly.
It cannot be dimmed.
It is indeed an eternal light.
I visited a synagogue this week in my community. The rabbi giving me a tour pointed to the eternal light that burns in the sanctuary; a light to remind the worshippers that God’s presence is always present.
The church where I serve, similarly, has an eternal light to remind us of God’s presence.
This is a season we are reminded that an eternal light has been burning since the Garden of Eden (Psalm 104:1-2) and will burn in the everlasting Garden (Revelation 22:5).

I invite you this advent season to see where there is light.
Ron Friesen is a pastor and a certified spiritual director in Phoenix, AZ. He is married to
June, a frequent contributor to Godspace Light Community.

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