The Light of Advent
December 7, 2021 | Rev. Dr. Randal Gilmore
About the author: Randal Gilmore is a retired pastor living in Fishers. He and his wife Dale currently serve as missionaries with The Gospel Story-arc Project, a global evangelism and discipleship initiative.
Today's Scripture: Philippians 4:4-7
The light of Advent is light that shines out of darkness. So though it acknowledges valleys of the shadows of death, it doesn’t yield to them. It calls us instead to see God’s plan for the world through Jesus as lighting our way.
The Apostle Paul wrote today’s text as a prescription for healing interpersonal conflict in the church at Philippi. But the specific remedies he unfolds—rejoicing in the Lord, tamping down aggression, remembering the Lord’s nearness, praying and giving thanks—these bring light to darkness of any kind.
I’m writing these words only an hour or so after having been prepped for a cancer treatment I’m to receive tomorrow. A few months ago I had two surgeries for Stage 3 thyroid cancer. Imagine my relief at the follow-up appointment, when I heard the doctor say, “I think we got it all.”
And then he said, “We’ll start monitoring you from here.”
As grateful as I still am for the doctor’s words, now, several months later, the monitoring has turned into my enduring the course of treatment I mentioned.
In truth, it’s not the worst thing I’ve ever been through. But still it’s a valley. And it’s darkness, a kind of darkness that presses in for the moment.
But that’s the point—it’s only for the moment. No matter what happens from here, light is on the way. That’s the sure promise of Advent and God’s plan through Jesus, a promise that penetrates darkness of every kind, and that doesn’t stop until it reaches our hearts and minds, and sets a guard of perfect peace.
Therefore, on this day, I will lift my eyes to the light of Advent. I will rejoice in the Lord. I will respond to my trouble with gentleness. I will acknowledge the Lord’s presence. I will pray and give thanks.
Gather as a family and turn the light of Advent on at least three things you are thankful for. Talk about some occasion when the Lord kept you from overreacting to some crisis, or otherwise showed you he was near.
Thank you for the light of Jesus at Advent, shining in the valley of the shadows of death, guiding us through, helping us to transcend our troubles, as we open our eyes to the light of God’s plan for the world though Jesus.