“God has brought you out of darkness into his marvelous light!”–1 Peter 2:9
The Christmas season is past, the festivities are over, the twinkle lights and decorations are put away, and forlorn Christmas trees line the streets, waiting to be picked up for burning. The long cold winter stretches ahead. As the old Christmas carol says, we are in the cold, dark and “bleak midwinter.” Epiphany season, however, reminds us that God has been revealed to us as Light—Christ is the Light of the world, the light that penetrates and dispels all darkness. Even in the midst of the dark winter, Christ is showering us with his love and light. We are never alone or distant from God. He is always in the midst of all that we experience.
Many centuries ago St. Augustine said that God is closer to us than our next breath. And St. Paul said, “In Him we live and move and have our being.” Psalm 139 says, “Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.” God is everywhere in the creation, and in you and me. Without God’s sustaining love, we would not even exist. God is within you, in your neighbors and co-workers, and even in the people who drive you crazy. Sometimes it’s hard to believe that God is really that close to us because of all the pain and trouble we see around us. Does God really see and care about our own hurts and our own suffering? Our own darkness? Is he really in the midst of this?
God does see our hurt and suffering world, the darkness that seems to pervade, and the ways in which we ourselves struggle towards the light. He only waits to be invited into our darkness so that he can bring his light into the midst of it. Jesus is no stranger to sorrow and suffering. He will guide us through any dark place and out into the light when we seek him. Like the light in a loving gaze, Jesus sees who we truly are. When he gazes on us he loves what he sees. 1 Peter says, “God has brought you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” The work has been done, but we can choose to step into his light. As we walk in his light, we come to follow him, know him, and love him. Through walking in the light of Christ, an inner transformation happens through his Holy Spirit. We become like him, and become bearers of Christ’s light, God’s true image, in the world.
As we begin 2020, let us move into this New Year and new decade stepping into Christ’s marvelous light.