A Senior Moment
'This Little Light of Mine'
by Rev. Bob Johnston

December 18, 2016

New Perspectives

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I first made the connection between “light” and Christmas one long-ago, frosty-clear, frozen night. We were living on Whitmore Avenue in Toronto; it was December 24 and I was five years old.

Leaving the cozy, sheltered warmth of our tiny yellow-brick bungalow, I ventured outside for a moment, just to be alone with my “little boy” thoughts. My mind was on that soon-coming next morning and the real story of Christmas. Our Sunday School class had recently performed the crèche scene in church. At the climax of the performance, a spotlight had dramatically broken through the darkness to reveal angelic beings, proclaiming the arrival of baby Jesus. In the calm, still cold of that night, I was seeking to grasp the meaning of this story.

Overhead, the sky was a canopy of yellow and white dots, far-off flickering blips of radiance that spoke of mystery and magnitude. At the same time, all around me I could see glowing, multi-coloured glass bulbs festooning neighbouring houses and living room Christmas trees. But those celestial lights were far brighter. That was my introduction to something or someone whom religious people called God. Many years later, I came across the familiar Isaiah passage from the Bible’s Older Testament, written seven centuries before the event, which traditionally has been seen by Christians as the fore-telling of Jesus’ birth.

The people walking in darkness have seen a great light. (Isa. 9:2)

In the Newer Testament, John’s gospel then records how Jesus proclaimed himself to be that light.

I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, But will have the light of life (John 12a)

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So far in this Bible study, we have trod upon familiar ground, these well-known verses serving as a comforting foundation of Christian faith. Yet, it is in another passage of Scripture where we find this radical Jewish Rabbi suddenly challenging us to live out that faith in our daily walk. Turning to his followers, Jesus tells them---and us:

 You are the light of the world---let your light shine before men, that they might see your good deeds and praise your father in heaven (Mt.5:14,16)

Over the years, Christmas, as we all know, has become increasingly focused on the giving and receiving of presents. A gift represents a token, a symbol of our caring for the other person, that friend or family member.

Throughout the year, we can choose to continue giving gifts, not packaged in colorful paper, but wrapped in acts of loving kindness. In that way we live out the challenge of Jesus to bring light into our world, a world which these days knows only too much darkness. (References are from the NIV Bible)

As Eleanor Roosevelt asserted: “It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.”

May you continue to “light candles” of caring and sharing over this holiday season and into the new year ahead. I extend to my readers ...

Season’s Greetings, Happy Hanukkah --- the Jewish Festival Of Lights --- and a Merry Christmas!


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