1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being 4 in him was life,[a] and the life was the light of all people. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it. (John 1:1-5 NRSV)
Fall is winding down and winter is coming upon us. I hope you have all of your outside chores done and you are ready for the beauty of a Wisconsin winter. It’s time to break out your winter decorations and of course, get ready for Christmas. In the church we start that process with Advent. This year it starts on November 28 and concludes on Christmas day. There is always a lot of pageantry with Advent and Christmas. We will decorate the church, light advent candles, have special readings, and sing hymns and carols for the season. It is a fun time.
It is at this time we tell the story of the birth of Jesus Christ. Jesus is our salvation and the beginning of the Christian faith. It is because of Jesus that we have hope in our future and joy today. But there is another story to tell.
One of the changes that occur this time of year is that the days get shorter. It seems that the darkness is overcoming the light. The winter solstice is the shortest day of the year. And then behold, the days start to get longer. The light overcomes darkness. This is what we are celebrating at Christmas. The light overcoming the darkness.
This is an age-old story. There often seems to be plenty of darkness to go around. Whether it is a global health crisis, global warming, politics, economy, or other national and global darkness. It could be more personal, such as, personal health, finances, relationship problems, the reminder of the loss of a loved one. But during it all, we take comfort in the thought that the worst things are never the last things. Christ is born and light overcomes the darkness. And that gives us hope.
In other news: We had a wonderful celebration Sunday with our Hmong-America friends. We pray for a good new beginning in their new setting. We look forward to partnering with them in the future on some joint ministry projects. It will be exciting to see what new adventures God has in store for them as they step out in faith.
Have a joyful Christmas.