Advent Reflection: Dec. 18, 2017

Seasonal Devotions

Scripture: John 3:19–21  (Today’s Readings)

Growing up in Maryland, my family always took an annual sojourn to the beach. I loved catching (terrorizing?) sand crabs, holding hands with my brother and sister and seeing if we could stand in the biggest waves, and swimming to the bottom of the shoreline and feeling the waves rush over me from above.

My favorite tradition, however, was to watch the sunrise over the beach. This is no small feat, because to say that I am not a morning person is quite the understatement.

At least one morning during the trip, my father and I would rise while the moon was in its full glory and walk out to the beach. I, ever the impatient one, would play a version of the old car game, except now the question was, “Is it time yet? Is it time yet?”

But in growing a semblance of patience, I began to appreciate the sunrise process. And soon the part that intrigued me the most was not the actual sun — it is those few moments where you’re not sure if it’s day or night, dawn or dusk. Indigo hues are filling the skies, stars seem confused if it’s still their time, and gradually blues and pinks start to whisper onto the water. Finally, with my eyes firmly glued to the horizon, the first beckoning light of the sun’s rays peek out, simultaneously tentative and committed.

We know wrong and right like we know darkness and light. However, so much of the world’s sin, including my own, seems to take place in those indigo moments.

We participate in the gossip, but then rationalize that we are just helping them.

We sit down in church, though we are anything but mentally present.

We see those in need, and give but a pittance, with a begrudging spirit.

We say, “This is wrong, someone should do something,” and forget we are someone.

We must acknowledge before we change. We must allow God’s light to illuminate the darkest corners of our souls and allow His still, small voice to nudge us toward acts that glorify Him. We must simultaneously be light to others and grow toward God’s light, much as a sunflower tracks the sun.

Life is a journey, not a destination — and so, too, are the sunrises.

Prayer: Loving God, as we anticipate Your coming, may Your light shine into our lives and cast out all darkness, that we may revel in Your beauty.  Amen.

Contributed by Corinne M. Nunez, Deacon

Read more Advent Reflections on the blog of the Shadyside Presbyterian Church website.

Download the full booklet of Advent Reflections.

Artwork: Detail of No Between © Jan L. Richardson. Inspired by Isaiah 64:1: “O that You would tear open the heavens and come down … .”