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“Because of our God’s deep compassion,
the dawn from heaven will break upon us,
to give light to those who are sitting in darkness
and in the shadow of death,
to guide us on the path of peace.”
— Luke 1:78-79 CEB
The above passage comes at the conclusion of Zechariah’s prophecy at the circumcision and naming of his son, John. He is filled with the Holy Spirit and able to speak again after nine months of silence. After a long night of darkness, the dawn is about to break.
While I love the Fall season, the shortening days are not something I look forward to. I like daylight and eagerly look forward to Spring when the lengthening days overtake the nights. I want light! I feel better in the light. The darkness is depressing, and I feel tired, even weary.
The world itself sometimes feels dark. There is division, anxiety, fear, and suspicion all around us. It is in our world, our communities, and even the church. We see people recoiling from the very ones they are called to love. It leaves us longing for light.
It was into that kind of darkness John was born. Born to be the prophet of the Most High to go before the Lord to prepare the way. Born to be the herald of the coming dawn. John was born to proclaim that God has not forgotten us. God has not forgotten you. You are the beloved of God.
In this season of darkness, the Spirit comes to proclaim the salvation of God from the power of fear, hatred, and division. God has remembered us and we, in turn, must remember the God who comes to shine light into the darkness. We, like John, are invited to prepare the way of the Lord! More than that, by the Spirit, we are to become part of the coming dawn. As Jesus says, “You are the light of the world… Let your light shine”
Prayer: God of Love and Light, Let the light of your love fill me. Open my life to you, dispel my fear and hatred. Prepare my life to receive you. So that, filled with your love, I might become a beacon of light for others. Living and praying in the name of Jesus. Amen.
By: Rev. William Poland, Director of New Communities of Faith, Iowa Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church