John 1:4-5

Luke 2:6-12

Luke 2:22-38

Psalm 119:105

Psalm 139:7-12


I have a friend named Justin who plays drums for us at our church. Justin is fully blind, which has been incredible for me to have a friend that changes my whole perspective of everyday things as we go about normal life.


One of my favorite moments was after a worship team practice that we had one night. I had shut off all of the lights and locked up the church, and Justin was waiting on me because I was going to give him a ride home. So after I closed everything up, we went together to grab our things to leave, and I led him by the arm. I had completely forgotten that our things were in the middle of the sanctuary stage, so we stepped into the completely dark sanctuary. There was a moment where I was thinking, let me go run and turn the lights on because I can’t see a thing, but I realized that I would be the only one benefitting from that. So I cautiously proceeded down what I was assuming was the center aisle. And I think Justin picked up on my hesitancy as he asked, is everything ok? We were probably walking really slowly. And I told him, “Haha, well you can’t tell but all of the lights are off in the sanctuary and I can’t see a thing. And without hesitation, he offered me his walking stick and we laughed together as I clumsily used it to navigate our way up each step of the stage to get our things.


If only someone had walked into the sanctuary in that moment to flip on the lights to see us laughing as a guy who couldn’t see anything was leading a guy who couldn’t see anything.


It was in that moment that Justin helped me realize something really profound about my vision. Although I love being able to see, it actually can make me less sensitive to and aware of my surroundings.


I think this concept is what typically happens to me during advent. Christmas time is probably the season of the church that we need to bring the least amount of explanation of what’s going on. Our entire society shifts to remind us of the season. Can we even count the consecutive days at this point that stores have had an entire red and green and shiny section on display? Everything this season can feel so obvious and routine. We know a general layout of holidays with our families and what to expect with those different interpersonal connections.


But what would happen to us if the proverbial Christmas lights were turned off and we didn’t have everything around us to remind us that it was advent? Would we spend the same attention to the mysterious nature in which God brought light into the world through Jesus? Through a virgin birth?


We see two depictions in Luke 2 of what might be seemingly ordinary to us but was God illuminating through the ordinary to depict the divine. God spoke to shepherds, who at the time and culture were an overlooked and hidden part of society. Night time for them was a typical time to keep watch, as the occasional predator might be lurking. I imagine though that for many nights, a shepherd is bored and halfway falling asleep as their time is extremely uneventful. And God took what was just another night to reveal to them that the Savior was born as a baby wrapped in cloth in a manger.


Then in a few verses afterwards, we see a pretty routine Jewish process where parents would take their kids to be circumcised and presented to the Lord in Jerusalem, in which both Simeon and Anna were separately going about their normal routines of their daily lives. In that place, the Holy Spirit illuminated something unique about this baby being the Messiah.


And I would like to think that if I were one of them – a shepherd, or Simeon, or Anna – that I, too, would have been awake enough in the middle of the night to have an angel speak to me, or led by the Holy Spirit in a way to recognize the Messiah.


But how often do I go about my daily life as if God will not illuminate something that is seemingly ordinary to reveal something divine? Do I even pause enough to listen or see? Will I slow down to walk more cautiously through the center aisle of the sanctuary to notice whether I’m slightly veering left or right or to count the number of steps? Am I aware of Emmanuel, God with us, via the Holy Spirit? Do bring my own lantern in some form or fashion to illuminate my own path, as opposed to knowing that He is my light?


I think the larger issue that I have with the ordinary is whether I trust God enough amidst the darkness. Do I truly believe that God shines brighter than the routine “dark night” that happens every 24 hours? Even now in this very moment, is God illuminated to me or do I feel like He is off in the distance?


My dad and aunt were driving late one night between towns out in east Texas, and my dad’s car was in its last days. It was an old Cadillac El Dorado from the late 80s and it had all of the bells and whistles of the time – the dash was full of features and buttons and toggles. The only downside was that with all of those electronics, there was some disconnect in the wiring. As they were driving late at night on a country road with no streetlights or cars, all of a sudden, the entire dashboard, interior lights, and headlights shut off! And where you would normally be looking to see the road, it was pitch black. As my dad was furiously pounding the dashboard to get the lights to come back on, my aunt looked up and noticed – if you fix your eyes above the line of pine trees, you can see the pathway forward from the sky. Although the road was dark, the dimly lit sky seemed bright compared to the trees.


The irony is that the sky and tree line were there the whole time, but it took a specific circumstance to see how God was illuminating the way forward. Luckily, in their case, the lights came back on the road was back in sight. We too must often look for things that have always been there, but God may be illuminating them in a different perspective to show us the way forward. Even darkness is as light to him.


John 1:4-5 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.


What is God illuminating in my life right now?

In this advent season, how can I specifically pray for direction or discernment regarding the pathway God has placed me on?

Who or what in my current life do I tend to overlook, and how might God be revealing something profound through something seemingly ordinary?


May you rest in the peace of knowing that the darkness will never overcome the Light that has been given to you.