Summary: A sermon for Advent.
“Getting Ready for Christmas: Walking in the Light”
Isaiah 9:2, 6-7
One weekend, author Paul Tripp allowed his teenage son to spend the weekend at a friend’s house.
But during the weekend Paul got a call from the friend’s mother informing him that Paul’s son was not at her home.
Her son had felt guilty about covering for Paul’s son and told his mom.
Paul writes: “I went to my bedroom to pray for God’s help, and it hit me that, because of His love, God was the one Who pressed in on the conscience of my son’s friend, causing him to confess to his mom.
God was the One Who gave her the courage to make that difficult call to me.
And God was the One giving me time to get ahold of myself before my son came home.
Now, rather than wanting to rip into my son, I wanted to be part of what the God of grace was doing in this moment of rebellion, deception, hurt, and disappointment.”
So, after giving his son a couple hours to relax when he got home, Paul asked him if they could talk.
“Do you ever think about how much God loves you?” Paul asked his son.
“Sometimes,” he answered.
“Do you ever think how much God’s grace operates in your life every day?”
His son looked up but didn’t speak.
“Do you know how much God’s grace was working in your life even this weekend?”
“Who told you?” his son asked.
Paul said, “You have lived your life in the light.
You’ve made good choices.
You’ve been an easy son to parent, but this weekend you took a step toward the darkness.
You can live in the darkness if you want.
You can learn to lie and deceive.
Or you can decide to live in God’s light.
I’m pleading with you: don’t live in the darkness; live in the light.”
Paul continues: “As I turned to walk away I heard my son’s voice behind me saying: ‘Dad, I want to live in the light, but it’s so hard.
Will you help?”
Our Scripture passage from Isaiah announces that “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light…”
In the Bible darkness is a metaphor for evil, sin, suffering, distress and death.
It’s what we see on the news: wars, famine, greed, mass shootings, suicide, drug overdoses, racism, the abuse of power and it goes on and on and on and on.
We also see it in our personal lives: broken marriages and friendships, anger, rage, bitterness, apathy, a lack of love.
Light, on the other hand, is a metaphor for the Presence of God.
In it we find love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
We have such a wonderful Pre-School here at Red Bank United Methodist Church.
Every Tuesday and Thursday, Jordan and I lead the children in Chapel.
Of course, with 2, 3, and 4-year-olds it can be hard to tell if they are listening to what you are saying or really “getting” any of it.
Every time, at chapel, we pray the Lord’s Prayer, I read some Scripture, give a very brief devotion and we sing “This Little Light of Mine,” and “Jesus Loves Me.”
Of course, you know “This Little Light of Mine.”
“This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine…
…hide it under a bushel—No! I’m gonna let it shine.”
So, two weeks ago I was reading to the kids from Matthew where Jesus says: “You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden.
Neither do people light a lamp and hide it under…”
And at that the children all screamed out “a bushel”!
It was really cool how they connected the song and the Scripture.
In any event, during the Advent and Christmas seasons we especially celebrate that Jesus Christ has come into the world—to bring light into our darkness—to save us from our sins, our lostness, ourselves.
And we are also to remember, that, Jesus instructed those who have experienced the Light to also BE THE LIGHT.
“YOU are the light of the world.”
Wow, that’s startling when you think about it.
That’s you; that’s me.
That can be scary.
That’s a big responsibility.
And to be quite honest, there are a lot of times when I don’t feel like “a light.”
There are a lot of times that I feel like a part of the darkness.
Can you relate?
When we look at our Scripture Passage for this morning, we see that there is one thing that human beings do: they see a great light.
They have a vision of the righteous reign of the King Who is already at work in the world.
And yet, when we look out at the world we see that it continues to be corrupt, cruel and confusing.