Summary: An Advent sermon, exhorting us to share and be the Light of Christ for those living in the darkness.
“Share the Light, or Lose It”—An Advent Sermon
Preacher: The Rev. Canon John Donnelly
St. Michael’s Episcopal Church, Wayne, NJ
Once upon a time there was a man who lived in a deep dark cave---which had no exit. All his life, he was cold, damp, and miserable. The cave was so dark that he couldn’t see; and he was consumed with sorrow. The man had a candle---but he had no fire, so the candle was totally useless.
One day, in his desperation, the man cried out to the Lord, asking for help. Much to his surprise, an angel appeared and lit his candle with a flame of fire. Well, he was overjoyed. His candle gave him warmth. His candle gave him light. His candle gave him companionship. And his candle made him happy.
However, the following day another cave dweller appeared in the man’s life. The cave dweller was a woman, and she was cold, damp, and frightened. She, too, had a candle---but she had no fire. Now the woman became attracted to the man’s candle, and crept closely to him. She loved the warmth ---the light---the security. However, as she approached-- the man saw her and turned his back upon her---blocking her from the light.
Summoning up her courage, the woman dared to speak to him. “Kind sir,” she said, “Would you please light my candle, for I have no light?”
At the sound of her voice, the man walked away, leaving her in the darkness. He didn’t know this woman---but more than that, you see, he was afraid. He was afraid that if he lit the stranger’s candle—that his might accidentally blow out---and that once again, he’d be left in the darkness. So, the man took his candle and walked in the opposite direction---hurrying to safety.
Meanwhile, the angel of the Lord had not yet left the cave, and had seen all that had transpired. The angel was filled with a rage towards the man’s selfishness. So, he flew over to the man, blowing out his candle; and then the angel gave the light to the woman. Once again, the man was left in the darkness. Oh, the woman tried to light his candle for him---but each time she tried, his candle went out.
John the Baptist rose from the desert as a mighty prophet----condemning the religious establishment, and encouraging the non-religious. You see, the religious people had kept the light of God’s word all to themselves. They knew the comfort of God. They basked in the God’s love, God’s mercy, God’s forgiveness, and God’s joy. And that was good.
But they kept it all to themselves---while regular people wandered in the darkness of ignorance. They didn’t know that God loved them. They didn’t know they could pray to him. They didn’t know his compassion and mercy.
So John, the Baptist, filled with the Holy Spirit---preached to the religious establishment, saying, “Share it, or God will take it away from you.”
My friends, we are the religious establishment to whom this message is directed. We are here today because we know that Jesus is Alive---that Jesus rose from the dead---and that Jesus will come again. Many of us remember how we once wandered in the darkness, when we did not know His love and forgiveness.
· Some of us were notorious sinners, who hurt others and hurt ourselves.
· Others of us were apathetic about God, because we really didn’t think he could add anything to our lives.
· And still others of us were battered, beaten, and broken; and we were at the end of our ropes.
Then----one day-----when you were minding your own business, or when you were doing something bad---or one day when you were languishing in pain----someone brought light into your darkness. Someone had mercy on you, whether you knew you needed it or not. Someone reached out to you in a dramatic way, or in a quiet way, in the Name of Jesus.
· Maybe the person invited you to come to church.
· Maybe the person prayed with you, or listened to your problems.
· Maybe touched you with tough love.
· Maybe someone befriended you.
· Maybe an invisible angel guided you to this parish family.
· Maybe someone forgave you for the wrong you had done to him or her.
· Maybe someone told you about Jesus’ love.
· Maybe someone helped you when you needed a friend---and then, another candle was lit—and that candle was yours.
Now when that happened, the light of Christ’s love may have shined upon you---- in a sudden flash, as was the case of St. Paul on the Road to Damascus; or maybe the light started shining very dimly----and softly, until it grew bright.
Oh, how can we describe the light of Christ coming into our lives?