I attended a church that I don't usually go to this morning. It had a grand and yet approachable feel about it and its well executed form held my heart tenderly as indeed, I felt tender.
There came a moment in the sermon presentation when the speaker turned to the advent candles on the stage and walked towards them with the candle snuffer (yes, that is the technical name and yes, it did make me smile as I googled to confirm I had the right name, snuffer). Slowly she extinguished each candle, one by one, slowly speaking of the advent season ending. The lights in the room all dimmed as well and in less than a couple of minutes the whole room was dark except for one candle, the Christ candle. It was powerful and a tangible picture of what this season might feel like. All the lights, glittering and attractive all come down to one light.
Gosh, isn't this space, well new!? I mean it's familiar in all the usual ways but also, new.
We speak of the Gift and the King and the baby and the room and the message of peace and yet what has really struck me this year is how small that little baby Jesus light is. You think of a baby born and that little baby is just a baby, in our midst, a Holy baby, but still a baby. That light is still a light and it has great power in such a large and dark space but it's still one small light.
Now, I know that we all know the end of the story, or even the "from before the first beginning" of the story when the Word was light spoken forth and the Word was God and with God, and that somehow in the mystery of it all this Jesus we see birthed at this time of year in the Church calendar remains in a way that the soul needs more than anything else that might have been gifted. As all the other lights fade into the ether of time, this light of Salvation has the potential to be our new thing in the most liberating way. You see, the question lingering for me is what it might look like to get to know the light of Salvation that is for us this year? It won't be the same as last year, we have lived a whole portion of time after all.
Jesus literally means "Yahweh is Salvation", it's the same name Joshua in fact. We get to know Gods name way back in Exodus when Moses has the foresight to ask and in that Holy moment Moses was given a faith building understanding of the one who was calling him by name.
Yahweh, commonly translated as "I am that I am", is actually more a "I will be who I will be", in other words a verb, a movement of eternity through time. So this full name, this Jesus, this light is the I will be who I will be Salvation that awaits us in that one light remaining.
So, who is this little light in our midst? How will the Spirit guide and illuminate the path as we get to know Him in this new season and as this new year begins? This is not a question of saved or unsaved this is a question of what you, precious, light filled you get to discover about the one who has come to save. The one who leads us in cycles of righteousness to be restored by faith, lifted up by hope and found in Love.
May you get to know the Salvation of this season, the one for you, your family, your community. It will look different but maybe feel familiar and with it will come an abundance of new things, new growth, fruit and beauty.
"For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun!…" Isaiah 43 v 19
Happy New Year.