Weekly devotion with Kim Wu
To keep our Christmas tree last year from becoming a brittle heap of needles on the floor before Christmas even arrived, we had to give our tree an IV.
Christmas is a season full of expectations. We want everything to be picture-perfect, a real holly jolly time of year. Instead, we’ve got an IV drip line only-partially-hidden behind the Christmas tree, and many of us feel overwhelmed by all the added hype of the commercialized version of Christmas.
Fully embracing the season means we need to fully embrace the meaning of Advent as a time of waiting and preparing for the turning of the world upside-down.
As Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote, “God is in the manger, wealth in poverty, light in darkness, succor in abandonment.”
Light and darkness are major themes of the advent season. The days are shorter, the darkness longer. With each week of Advent, another candle is lit, and with the ever-increasing light, we draw closer to the coming of Christ.
In his book, “The Heart That Grew Three Sizes,” author Matt Rawle says, “Light is powerful, but also passive. The point of light isn’t to stare directly at it. Light illuminates everything but itself.”
It’s another inversion of the way we usually understand the world. The power and purpose of the light comes from illuminating something other than itself.
Author Eva K. Logue also points us to the outside-itself focus of a candle’s light. “A Christmas candle is a lovely thing; It makes no noise at all, But softly gives itself away; While quite unselfish, it grows small.”
As we follow the Grinch’s journey to Christmas, we see him finally understand and embrace the meaning of Christmas and as he does, his heart grows three sizes. His heart grows when his focus unselfishly turns outward. He becomes smaller, but his heart grows bigger.
When we light our Advent candles, may we be inspired by the sacrificial light provided by the candle, and be participants in God’s plan to make all things new.
Lord of light and darkness, You are the light that shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it. Stir our hearts this season to wait expectantly and prepare for Your coming by turning our focus outward, to see with Your eyes the world as it is, and to see the world as it should be. Amen.