Thursday, January 3, 2013
Begin by praying the Collect for Grace and Collect for Purity.
Collect for Grace:
Lord God, almighty and everlasting Father, you have brought us safely to this new day: Preserve us with your mighty power, that we may not fall into sin, nor be overcome by adversity; and in all we do, direct us to the fulfilling of your purpose; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Collect for Purity:
Almighty God, to you all hearts are open, all desires known, and from you no secrets are hidden: Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that we might perfectly love you, and worthily magnify your holy name; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Read: Psalm 72, Job 42:10-17, and Luke 8:16-21
The Feast of the Incarnation (commonly known as Christmas) is all about light in the darkness. Darkness is absolute until even the tiniest light shines. Advent happens during the northern hemisphere’s darkest time. The winter solstice occurs on December 21st or 22nd, right as Advent is coming to a close. Then Christmas happens. Trees decorated with hundreds of lights (this author’s tree has well over a thousand lights, for instance), and candles in windows. The church is lit up with candles and lights of all kinds. The Christ candle on the Advent wreath is lit for Christmas Eve and Day. Christmas is the celebration of the Light of the World coming to dispel the darkness. As St. John wrote, “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.” (Jn. 1:5).
The rest of the world has already moved on past Christmas, past New Year’s Day, and is on to the next thing. Valentines cards and decorations went up on St. Stephen’s Day in some stores, and later that week in others. But here we are still celebrating the Light of the World. Christmas is much more than just the story of Jesus’ birth. It is the celebration of the Incarnation. It is the time when we give thanks to God for coming and taking on human form to live and work among us, teaching us how we should live. Let’s not look too quickly to the cross, however, but instead focus on Jesus revealed to us.
What can we learn about God from the Incarnation? What can we pick up from Jesus’ life among us? There are so many things that we could list. One that comes to mind is that God loves us so much that he just had to send his Son to come and demonstrate for us the way to salvation. He didn’t want us to be lost in darkness. He sent us the Light.