by Ellen Ceely
“Almighty God, you have poured upon us the new light of your incarnate Word: Grant that this light, enkindled in our hearts, may shine forth in our lives; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.” – The Book of Common Prayer, The Collect for Year C, First Sunday After Christmas Day
Jesus brought light into a dark world. In a stable, with no one to help but Joseph, Mary gave birth to the baby who changed the course of history. Jesus came to live as one of us, to pour out his love upon us. He made a way for us to have a relationship with him, to receive forgiveness for our sins. In short: Jesus came to transform our lives.
Christmas can be a difficult and bitter time for some and an incredibly sweet time for others. Some people experience increased loneliness, financial hardship, and grief during this season. Others experience homes filled with love, friendship, and abundance as they decorate and celebrate.
As you wake this morning and continue to celebrate the Christmas season, my prayer for you is for peaceful joy. Wherever you are, whatever your Christmas looks like this year, I pray your heart and mind are filled with the hope that only Jesus can bring.
If you find yourself in a season of grief and hardship right now, may the God who understands what it is to be rejected, scorned, and broken shine his light of comfort in your heart today. From Herod’s order to kill all the baby boys to the moment he was crucified, Jesus experienced the full darkness of the world. But that darkness could not overpower him because he is the almighty Creator of the universe. He still brought light and life and love to a world of hate and sin. Rest in his embrace today. If you find yourself in a season of sweet ease, may the God who triumphed over evil be at the center of your rejoicing. Remember the creator of light and joy as you sit with loved ones. Rejoice in the freedom from sin and rest in the abundance of who God is.
Where do you find yourself this Christmas season? As you reflect on Advent and Christmas, take some time to pray about what they mean for your everyday life. How does God’s light currently shine forth in your life? How would you like it to shine forth? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
Could you use some hope right now? Join Peter’s first audience—“elect exiles” undergoing persecution—and experience the apostle’s powerful call to follow Jesus in the midst of life’s challenges, knowing your Living Hope is not a distant one, but a daily, glorious, life-giving reality! This unique six-week small group Bible study, A Living Hope: A Study of 1 Peter, helps you uncover the priceless promises written specifically to the struggling and the hurting, with pastoral gentleness and bold confidence for the future. This study of 1 Peter will help you become utterly convinced that Jesus is the only sure, true, incorruptible, and permanent hope for you.
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