The Upward Look, by Jon Forrest
The Light of Hope

The night Jesus was born, Luke tells us that there were shepherd’s watching their flocks by night. You can’t imagine how dark it was on that hillside on the countryside of Judea. While there may have been a campfire and likely stars in the sky the darkness must have been intense. Luke tells us that it was sudden that the glory of the Lord pierced the darkness with the light of his presence. It was so bright and so sudden that it scared the shepherds speechless. In the middle of this light came an angel to declare the Glory of the Lord. John 1 tells us that Jesus is the Light of the World and he is so bright, the world cannot grasp the meaning of Jesus. Even the religious scholars of his time were overwhelmed by the light of Jesus. Jesus came to be the light of hope.

When Jesus came, God had not spoken in the world for over 400 years. Spiritual life had dried up, especially under the oppression of the Roman Empire. Things seemed hopeless and dry. The religious leaders of the time were dried up spiritually to the point that they lived more of a political game than one of light and hope. Their connection with God had shriveled up into nothing.
Rabbi, Hugo Grynn, was sent to Auschwitz as a little boy. In the midst of the concentration camp, in the midst of the death and horror all around them, many Jews held onto whatever shreds of their religious observances they could, without drawing the ire of the guards. One cold winter's evening, Hugo's father gathered the family in the barracks. It was the first night of Hanukkah, the Jewish Feast of Lights.

The young child watched in horror as his father took the family's last pad of butter and made a makeshift candle, using a string from his ragged clothes. He then took a match and lit the candle. "Father, no!" Hugo cried. "That butter is our last bit of food! How will we survive?"

"We can live for many days without food," his father said. "We cannot live a single minute without faith and hope. This is the fire of hope. Never let it go out. Not here! Not anywhere!"

As we look around our world today, the spiritual light has gone out for many and hope has been lost. Much of what “passes” for entertainment is depressing and dark. Our politics have become bitter, harsh and without truth. People have traded truth for meaningless woke phrases.

Why has it become like this? Because Jesus gave his light to us when he said in Matthew 5:14-16, “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”

The followers of Christ today have hidden their light under a bowl. Fear of discovery and rejection has resulted in the dowsing of our light and hope so that no one can see. Another cause of the covering of this light is that many who claim to be Christ’s followers have drifted so far from him and his light that they are not close enough to reflect it to others. Many have become lightless and hopeless. Therefore, how can the world find Christ’s light if they it can’t see it in us? It is time to get close to the light, the Son of God, the hope of the ages so that people will see Him in and through us.

This Sunday will be the third Sunday of Advent and the morning message will prepare us for the third week of Advent daily devotions. The sermon is titled “The Light of the World” and is based on John 1:1-18 and other passages. Come and celebrate the coming of the Christ at First Christian Church of Clovis.

Living the Light,

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