The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness – on them light has shined. – Isaiah 9:2
Isaiah’s words lit our way through the season of Advent. Each week we lit one more candle on the Advent wreath that hung from the arch in the sanctuary. We waited with Mary as she pondered the words of the angel and went to visit her cousin Elizabeth. We gathered with friends from Davey Street Presbyterian Church for Christmas dinner and the annual Simple Gifts program that ended with caroling in the courtyard. We weathered a snow Sunday, reminding us of the disruption that any child brings to a family, begging the question how much more so when the child is the Son of the Most High God. We tread softly through human grief during the Longest Night service, lighting candles that twinkled as they held the hope and hardness of all the years. Finally, on that last Sunday of Advent, the children told the Christmas story
in the way that only children can – with fresh eyes, full of hope; with hearts open to the wonder of the Incarnation. That precious service gave way to a Christmas Eve that was alive with the whispers of Mary and the cries of Jesus at the 5pm service and the still, wonder of Christmas birth at the 11pm service. Thank you, West Raleigh, for decorating, delivering, hosting, helping, singing, ringing and being the church through Advent and at Christmas.
Now, it is time for a season change, for this Light did not just come for those who gathered at the manger. It did not only appear to those who knew Isaiah’s prophecy. The light appeared to wise people in the east. They observed a new star at its rising and followed its light all the way to Bethlehem, where they found Jesus and Mary and Joseph. This revelation marks the beginning of the season of Epiphany, a word that in Greek means to reveal or to uncover. In the birth of Jesus, Salvation was revealed, first in the way that he lived, then in the way he died, and finally in the way that God overcame death with the power of life. This Sunday the church will welcome Epiphany with Festival Worship. The choir will be back in full strength to sing of the Light; readers will tell of its glory in multiple languages; and in the sermon, we will explore what it means to follow the Light into the year ahead. Come, West Raleigh, come for it is time for Epiphany!
See you in church,