Larry and I wrote an entry for our church’s Advent devotional which came out today. I love that we wrote it together several months ago and a) I can’t remember which of the words belong to me and which belong to Larry and b) I sense the anticipation of waiting for the light all the more!
There were clouds that morning, but not on the horizon where it mattered. Before us was the slope of the mountain and a gaggle of tree-covered islands before the expanse of the sea, all covered in a haze of deep blue. Our eyes were fixed on that horizon, expectant, waiting. The colors began to change, blue became purple, red, pink, orange. The undersides of the clouds lit up in fire and suddenly a point of light appeared, illuminating our faces. For all its intensity, we could not turn away until the light had disappeared behind the low-lying clouds. We were captivated. The light was literally seared in our vision for quite a bit of time moving forward.
Reading John’s words about Jesus reminds us of that day on Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park. John opens with the expectant image of waiting for the light. “The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming”—it was coming!—into the world! (John 1:9) The Gospel of Luke reminds us of all those who were waiting for him, beginning with Zechariah and Anna. And then the rest of the Gospels give us so many full-on glimpses of the pure, blinding light of Jesus as he proclaims, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12) Light of life, indeed, who dispels the darkness of sin. (1 John 1:7)
As John says, the true light is already shining, but the darkness is still passing away and we see its shadows around us, perhaps inside us, still. (1 John 2:8) In a way, we join Zechariah and Anna, still waiting, still expectant, seeing in a mirror dimly but expectant to see face to face. (1 Corinthians 13:12) We anticipate his coming, piercing the deep blue expanse of the world. We are watchers of the world, watching the horizon for his full glory to be revealed.
Where are you waiting expectantly for God’s light to shine? What shadows have you seen Him cast out by His presence?