DO Expect the Light of Christ

Our lamppost outside of home is on an automatic light sensor. Whenever the sensor detects that it is dusk, the lamppost turns on. And it turns off with morning light. This is a great way to keep our family from having to turn on and off the lamppost. Someone would certainly forget. It works well, lighting the path in front of our home whether we are home or not. This time of year, however it is likely to turn on and off more frequently. When someone passes in front of the sensor, their presence can cast enough shadow to turn on the lamppost temporarily. Our lamppost is suddenly lit! Even the wind blowing can turn on the light. These short lightings can feel like hope in the darkness, especially on these dark days.
Tonight, as we gather for Blue Christmas when life has not been what we had expected. It is not always a Christmas card picture. And quite frankly, the Christmas card only captures a moment in time. The body of Christ brings the hopes and fears of all the years are meet in thee tonight. We look for the light of Christ to bring us hope when the accumulation of daily life becomes more than we can carry. When Christmas has not a Norman Rockwell picture or the nostalgic picture that we remember in our mind’s eye. Memories and rituals fill this time of year. Baking cookies, cutting down trees, and taking in the Christmas lights are all special traditions to share with loved one. When the journey takes a different turn. It was just this morning, coming into the church, that Guernsey Road had a sign before you got to the church that it was closed. Imagine that! Road Closed as you approach the church. A tree was down just passed the overpass. The journey takes a different turn.
For the Israelites who heard the prophet Isaiah: Comfort, Comfort, my people. She has served her term and paid her penalty. Prepare the way. After a time of pain and exile, the Israelites had more than their share of fatigue. With blame and finger pointing aside, Isaiah calls the Israelites to remember the days while walking towards the hope of the future.
Christ’s light is like our lamppost. There are dependable places where we can always expect to find the comfort and presence of Jesus like scripture, sacrament, prayer, and gathering with other people of faith. This is the lamppost always turning on at dusk and off with morning light. Additionally, we are sometimes delightfully surprised by where we might see the light of Christ show up. This is when we know the presence of Jesus when a friend texts us when we need it most. When our hearts fill with joy in a moment at a thought of inspiration. When you sigh deeply and let your shoulders drop, even though you did not even realize you were holding in your breathe.
Tonight, we will expect the light of Christ as we remember together. As we remember loved ones and relationships, think of jobs and health, faith and joy, peace and hope, I hope each of you had a chance to pick up stars and a marker as you entered this evening. I will invite you write on the stars your prayers and all that which you lift into the light of Christ. We expect that God will continue to show in ways we can expect as well as in ways we could not have anticipated. For God can not be controlled or constrained, but we worship and adore God.
And the God we worship and adore is Emmanuel, God with us, not God-up-there-somewhere! Emmanuel is NOT a God who lifts us up out of our circumstances and puts us somewhere else. Rather Emmanuel, God-with-us, comes to us, in the midst of us our messy circumstances and shows us transformation reflects Christ’s light.