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To the saints of Twelve Corners Presbyterian Church,

Did you know that one of the most popular topics in all of scripture is “be not afraid?”  Prophets, angels, disciples, God, and Jesus Christ himself all use some form of this phrase on a regular basis throughout the Bible.  And it’s especially prevalent during the stories of the birth of Jesus – what we know as Advent and Christmas.

“In such a holy time, what’s to fear,” you may ask.  Well, it turns out, a lot.  And most of it has to do with uncertainty.  Mary is told she will bear a child that isn’t her husband’s, Joseph is told that his wife’s pregnancy is really a divine act of God, shepherds see mystical beings appear with choirs of music and a strange message.  Everywhere in this story, people are asked to take on calls that will lead them on an uncertain journey, to an uncertain destination.

Scripture often relates the “unknown” to darkness.  In the dark, we can’t see what’s ahead and often fear rises about what we might run into (or what might run into us!), and there’s a temptation to stay put.  But imagine what might have come if Mary said, “no thank you, I like my life just the way it is,” when the angel Gabriel passed on God’s request for her to give birth.  The darkness of fear and uncertainty would have won.

And what did Mary give birth to?  One name for him is The Light.  The apostle John, in his version of what could be called the birth narrative, puts it this way:

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being 4 in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it. (John 1:1-5)” 

And this is our trust.  That the Light has been born into darkness – Perfect Wisdom, in the midst of uncertainty.  We may not always know where we’re headed, or just how we’ll get there, but we believe that Jesus does.  The Light is greater than the darkness.  So, even as we walk through moments of uncertainty, we can trust that the Light is there – to guide us, sustain us, and bring us to a holy ending.

We can ask, then, “What are the dark places I’m starting this season of waiting with?  What is uncertain in my life that I pray the clarity of Christ’s Light will reveal?”  We can ask this of ourselves, and we can ask this of our church community, too, as we work toward a clearer understanding of the future story God has planned for us at TCPC.

When we remember that the darkness is an illusion, and that the Light of Christ is what is real, our hearts soften, our minds open, and our spirits rejoice.  And so we enter our Advent/Christmas season with the theme, “Rejoice, the Light Is Coming!”  May each of you feel the joy of the coming Christ-light as we approach this Christmas!

Peace in the Grace of Christ,

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