There is an invention out there that I have only heard about and seen on TV. I’m sure it actually exists, but I have not met anyone who has this invention in operation at their house. What is this revolutionary piece of technology and innovation you might wonder? It’s the Clapper! Some of you might be hearing the jingle in your head now: “Clap On! Clap Off! The Clapper!” The Clapper is the sound-activated electrical switch that can literally turn your lights on or off in your place of residence. While this isn’t a brand-new invention, it does allow for some pretty entertaining moments of thinking how some scenarios play out with this device. For example, if you are watching a sporting event on TV and your team scores, an initial reaction you might have would be to cheer and clap. Does this mean you literally clap the lights out? Or the TV off?
Light can be a funny thing, but one thing is for certain: Light is an essential thing. Light is essential to life. We need the light of the sun for warmth, growth, and nutrition. We need the light of a lamp to see in a dark room. We need the light to find, illuminate, and shine in places that are hard to see. Without light, we would be in a lot of trouble and have many a stubbed toe or broken nose. As we celebrate this Advent season and the giving of the One True Light of the World in the person of Jesus Christ, a quote from C.S. Lewis comes to mind that speaks powerfully on the topic of light as it pertains to faith. Lewis says this: “I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.”
In this declaration, we see two amazing reminders and connections regarding Advent and light. First, Jesus coming as the Light gives us a foundation that we can see and know God personally because He has come to us to rescue us from sin and death. Jesus, as the Light, was seen, heard, and touched by those around Him. But it is this second part that brings us to a deeper view on light. Jesus, as the True Light, illuminates everything around Him so that all is revealed and all is visible. And that brings us to a connection with light that might not be so comfortable. In the light, stuff shows up. When you turn a light on, you can see the dusty, dirty corners of a room, you can shine a light to look under the bed or the couch at the cobwebs and dust bunnies that have congregated. In the light, you see things as they are and that is not always a good, fun, or clean thing.
Think about that reality in the scope of our lives. Not the lives that others outwardly see, but the life lived beneath that; the one that others don’t see. When the Light of Christ shines in and illuminates our lives, everything shows up: the good, bad, and ugly. And yet, we see that this Light does not expose us to guilt, shame, or condemn us, but rather to show us the places where we need help, to show us the areas where darkness has a foothold, to show us why we need a Savior. It is this Light that has come into the world to be that Savior. That is what we celebrate during Christmas! That is something to truly rejoice in: that God sent His Son, the One True Light, to shine a light on all of who we are, to call us by name, to make us His holy child, and to set us free from the darkness that threatens to keep us apart. I need that Light to shine in my life and you need it in yours too. It is by that Light that we can see and it is by that Light that we are made free. As you gather with family and friends this week, take a moment to thank God for the Light of all lights that shines in the darkest places and is not overcome by it.
Pastor Ben Bigaouette