December 21, 2009

Dec. 21: Arise, shine; for your light has come


By Duane Stoltzfus, professor of communication
THIS WEEK’S THEME: Arise, shine; for your light has come

Shortly after nightfall, as if someone had flipped a switch, the rain suddenly turned to sleet and the roadways to ice. I was driving to my parents’ house in New York state, a bad time to be riding on old tires. To make matters worse, I had to head deeper into the woods for the last few miles, winding alongside a creek.

The car met its match on an uphill curve. The car tires started spinning, and the car slid down to the edge of the creek. I tried to clear the crest of the hill several more times, but never made it. I managed to back down and park the car on a narrow shoulder of the road, and then set off on foot.

The road was as dark as it was icy. No one seemed to be at home in the few houses that I passed, and I had no flashlight. After 20 minutes or so of walking, I saw the faintest of lights up ahead. The light grew brighter, like a silent train approaching. Before long, I heard my name called out. It was my father: a search party of one with a flashlight. I was grateful (and still am, 25 years later).

Few biblical metaphors are as powerful as that of light, and never is that light more welcome – and needed – than at Advent. A light is dawning. A light comes to those who sit in darkness. Put on the armor of light. A city on a hill cannot be hidden.

In our homes and in our churches, the lighting of the Advent candles is a reassuring symbol of the power of the one true Light; each week the light grows stronger. Just as we gratefully receive the light, we are directed to extend Christ’s light in the world. On Sunday, we sang: “Christ be our light! Shine in our hearts. Shine through the darkness. Christ be our light! Shine in your church gathered today.”

May we take the Light to all places in darkness – even when the roads turn icy.



Comments (14)

  1. very good devotional.
    i have enjoyed being on your devotional e mail list.
    may you continue your good work

    MITCHELL JONES December 21, 2009 |
  2. Thanks for the vivid word picture of how the light of Christ brings warmth and light in the dark and cold and ice.

    Betty December 21, 2009 |
  3. Duane: What a powerful illustration of being “rescued” by the saving light of your father. I really enjoyed your meditation a lot. Thanks for enlighten us more about the light of Christ our Savior.

    Oswaldo December 21, 2009 |
  4. Duane: Thanks for providing such a powerful personal story with such strong and appropriate imagery on this shortest day of the year. May Christ’s light shine for all of us this season!

    Richard Aguirre December 21, 2009 |
  5. I need this today. Life isn’t terrible, but I feel blue and need reassurance. I’ve been told my job is being eliminated on Jan1. I’m a widow who lives alone. My sister’s husband died last week. These are all normal life events and I feel ungrateful for all of God’s many gifts just by mentioning these things. But no matter where I look I need to see that light, to remember it when I don’t see it, and to summon up at least a flicker of it for others who are walking in darkness. I thank you for your vivid imagery of the precious Light of God who gives hope in dark times.

    Anita December 21, 2009 |
  6. Enjoyed your writing so much. Thank you for sharing your gift.

    Brenda Shelly December 21, 2009 |
  7. What an experience, what an image. Thanks!

    Crissie December 21, 2009 |
  8. What a vivid picture from your 25 year old memory! It captures so well the physical, emotional and spiritual realities of light–and certainly the light of Christ. Thank you.

    Tim December 21, 2009 |
  9. i, too, await the light of Christ this season more than ever. ill family members, a burglary to our home, papers to write, churches to heal … this particular devotion really spoke to me. i love the part about dad with the light calling out your name … i can hear God calling me – right now – to keep on comin’ through the darkness … and i believe that God is calling each and every one of us, by name, to do the same. praise be.

    pastor melinda December 21, 2009 |
  10. Beautifully written, Duane. The image of the Light (your father) in your story is very powerful.

    Thushan December 21, 2009 |
  11. Thanks for sharing your story . . . ..The
    LIGHT shown in DARKNESS . . . . .
    How grateful I am for the TRUE Light!

    Mary K. Mishler December 21, 2009 |
  12. What powerful imagery and beautifully told story illustrating the faithfulnees of Jehovah, His constant care for us and the assurance of His ever-presence. How we need to also look for the light and bring that light of hope into every darkness. Thank you for your wonderful devotion this day. He is always there.

    Sidonie smith December 21, 2009 |
  13. tHAT MESSAGE WAS RIGHT ON ! Thank you VK

    vera kauffman December 21, 2009 |
  14. wow, great story – great truth

    Stu Buisch December 24, 2009 |