By the tender mercy of our God, the dawn from on high will break upon us, to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.
Brothers and Sisters in Christ:
These final words of the prophesy given by Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist, capture well the spirit of the beginning of our new church year with the seasons of Advent and Christmas. As we celebrate the birth of Christ Jesus, we also look forward with anticipation to Christ’s next coming. We celebrate the hope that is found in Christ for those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death. We rejoice that evil, war, and death have been overcome by Christ and do not hold the final say.
I find myself reflecting on all of the ways that God has been a blessing in my own life, offering me light in the darkness and guiding my feet into the way of peace. Whenever I have been lost in the darkness, God has provided light for my journey – light which I have most clearly seen through the church and my loved ones. Any time I have wondered where I should go next in life, God has illuminated my path with wisdom and love and guided me into the way of peace.
As a congregation, we stand at the beginning of another year of ministry together. While my journey intertwined with yours part-way through this past year and will untwine again part-way through this coming year, it is my hope that our journey together is rooted in Christ’s light. We have an opportunity to reflect together on the ways God is calling us to be light for those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death. We have an opportunity to be advocates of God’s Kingdom of love, life, and peace in this world full of hate, death, and war. What will that look like for us collectively and individually? I look forward to discerning that answer together with you.
God’s peace be with you,