globalgirl Advent Adventure, day 21: Great Power, Great Light?

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Perhaps a little power outage is just what the world needs.

It was dusk when the power went out in our neighbourhood last night. At first, the kids were excited when I started lighting just about every candle in the house. But once the last rays of daylight were gone and the house took on the shadows of the dark, the novelty began to wear off. They stayed close: from downstairs, where we’d finished a cold picnic dinner, to upstairs to put on pyjammies. We moved in a pack.

I felt a little like Lady Liberty walking up the stairs, carrying two large candlesticks, lighting the way. The kids stayed close as I moved from bedroom to bathroom, lighting tealights and trying to put them safely out of the two-year-old’s reach. Then I lit the big iron candelabra and placed it in the decorative nook set into the wall on the landing. Five thick pillar candles shed a warm glow. Immediately the girls ran into their room and brought blankets and pillows, pretending to have a sleepover on the small patch of carpet in front of those five pillar candles. I watched them circle in on the light.

My children often show me the very basics of our humanness. The not-yet-redeemed parts: how we are innately selfish, greedy and impatient. But also how we can play and pretend. How we move and make up stories. How we love to be held close.

I watched my children, their inner GPS honing in on the light. That’s where they stayed. Nothing desirable about going out—beyond the landing and the light—where it seemed cold, dark and scary.

So there we were, camping out on the carpet in front of five pillar candles.

It made me think about Light. How it’s attractive, magnetic, beautiful.

But then I was reminded of that USA Today article that said: “Majorities of young people in America describe modern-day Christianity as judgmental, hypocritical and anti-gay.”

That doesn’t sound like the Light anyone would want to circle closer to. Did we miss something?

In the absence of power, last night, our light was comforting, warm, inviting. That’s where we gathered.

It struck me that, with great power, we can create great light. But is it beautiful, warm, comforting, inviting? Is it magnetic? Perhaps the Light in that US Today article looks too much like the big, almighty fluorescent light. Powerful, yes, but pretty obnoxious. And, in my aesthetic opinion, fluorescent light is plain ugly.

On Friday nights during our messianic shabat meal, I light two candles and say, amongst other things, these words: As we light these candles to give light to all who are in our home, light our lives with the great Love of your son, Jesus.

And we repeat the words of Jesus who said: Let your light shine before (people) in such a way that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven.

I believe the Light Jesus was talking about was the kind that soothes anxious hearts and draws people close. Light that should be safe. Inviting. Beautiful. Magnetic.

Maybe we all need a little power outage some time. I know I did.

Reflect:
One word: light
Activity: Think of the kind of light you want to be today … and every day during this season of waiting.
Prayer: Lord, make my light warm, inviting and comforting. May the broken and beautiful find rest in the Light that is in me.

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