The light of Christ comes at the darkest timePublished 10:26am Friday, January 11, 2013
Column: Across the Pastor’s Desk, by the Rev. Todd Walsh of Grace Lutheran Church
The Christmas rush is finished. Even the Twelve Days of Christmas ended last Sunday with Epiphany. There might be a sense of, “Now what?” There may even be a sense of relief that the commotion we create during the Christmas season is done.
But consider the atmosphere that we create during the Christmas season. We direct a great deal of attention to one date and one event and one theme. We may disagree with the commercialism but it helps us direct our attention. There are so many angles to the Christmas story that there is something for everyone. You can even manage to avoid anything religious in the Christmas season if you work at it.
But now it is January. Now what? What do we have to look forward to? In the church we have just started the Epiphany season, a time when we remember how Jesus revealed himself to the world. It is the church’s second season of light. For that matter, Epiphany is said to predate the celebration of Christmas with its focus on the visit of the Magi.
There are other celebrations that get our attention after the Christmas rush. We have the NFL playoffs! Well, us Viking fans did have the NFL playoffs. There is the Super Bowl, the most recent of our national holidays when we pause to celebrate food, and football. And if that doesn’t work, there is always those expensive ads to entertain us.
Consider the placement of Christmas on the calendar. The Bible gives us no information on when Jesus was born. The early church chose Dec. 25 because it was at the darkest time of the year. The message was clear: the light of Christ comes at the darkest time, the time of greatest need.
Consider your own calendar. Are there days when you need to place a little celebration? Or a big celebration? Many people take their Christmas tree down right after Christmas. Others observe the tradition of keeping up the lights through the Twelve Days. I know a few people who leave the tree up year round and simply cycle decorations for the various seasons. They may have something with that idea. It is a way to celebrate the life God gives through the year.
For me, I’m looking forward to the Epiphany stories of Jesus making his mark on the world. I’m also looking forward to Super Bowl Sunday. I just might take in Twins Fest this year at the end of January. And there are tons of activities here in Albert Lea to entertain and inspire. Just take a look at a school activities calendar. Consider all the organizations and churches that are looking for people to volunteer.
The words of 2 Corinthians 4.6 seem to a good way to close. For it is the God who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness’, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.