Advent Week 1: Darkness

darkness.jpg

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This week’s Advent devotional should be completed in the evening, after dark.  You will need an extra candle.

Sing or listen to the hymn “O Gladsome Light”

Moonless darkness stands between.
Past, the Past, no more be seen!
But the Bethlehem-star may lead me
To the sight of Him Who freed me
From the self that I have been.
Make me pure, Lord: Thou art holy;
Make me meek, Lord: Thou wert lowly;
Now beginning, and alway:
Now begin, on Christmas day. -Gerard Manley Hopkins

Scripture:

Psalm 119:105

Isaiah 60:2

Reflection:

Our hymn, “O Gladsome Light,” is not about darkness, it is about the light.  But what is light without darkness?  The light loses its potency on our senses when we are in it, doesn’t it?  If you were to shine a flashlight outside in the middle of a sunny afternoon, you would hardly even be able to see its beam.  But at night, when all is dark, we depend on that light to keep us from stumbling over obstacles in our path.  What felt “useless” in broad daylight is absolutely necessary in the dark.  In fact, let’s try something right now.  Wherever you are, turn on all the lights.  Now light the extra candle.  Do you even notice its light very much?  You can see the flame, of course, but is it really helping to light the room?  Now turn off all the lights (get it as dark as possible here; you may need to turn off lights in other rooms as well, draw the curtains, etc)..  What effect does that candle have now?  Are you glad it is lit?  Now blow out the candle.  How well can you see without its light?  Go ahead and turn the lights back on now.

In order to fully appreciate the Light of Christ’s coming, we need to first understand the darkness; not just in the world around us, but in our own hearts.  We need Jesus’ light to shine in every corner of who we are.  As we move through this Advent season, ask Him to reveal the darkened places in your soul, and seek out the His light.

Light the first Advent candle

Closing prayer:

Lord, in the midst of great darkness, we come before you now in anticipation of Your coming.  You are the Light of the world, and the Light of my heart.  Help us to recognize where there is darkness, both in the world and in our own hearts, so that we may learn to live by Your light.  May Your word be a “lamp to my feet and a light to my path,” so that I do not stumble in the darkness.  Amen.

Benediction:

May the Lord bless you and keep you,

May the Lord make His face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you.

May the Lord lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace.

Amen

*Don't forget that you can still get the full printable PDF of this advent series when you subscribe!  Just enter your email address in the sidebar or at the bottom of the page and follow the instructions.