By Pastor Tracey Leslie
Psalm 80 & John 1:1-5, 14-18
The light shines in the darkness and the darkness did not overcome it. John 1:5
Christmas Eve has arrived and what a strange holiday season this has been. As I write this devotional in mid-November, I am still uncertain what Christmas Eve worship will look like: in-person, online, small group worship spread across the day and into the evening? Much is uncertain in our lives and in our world right now. Yet, we can affirm with confidence that the coming of the Christ Child has delivered us from death and darkness and brought us into the presence of the one who is the Light of the World.
This Christmas Eve reflection focuses on the theme of deliverance. There is much we would like to be delivered from this year, right? Particularly, I imagine, we long to be delivered from our divisive, partisan politics and from this dreadful COVID virus.
As Christians we believe that the coming of Jesus, God’s presence in our midst (the Word made flesh), has resulted in our salvation and our deliverance from the darkness of sin and death. God’s presence in our midst is what we celebrate this season; for in the birth of Jesus, God’s glory clothed itself in flesh and came to live among us. Throughout scripture, God’s glory in the midst of his people brought about their deliverance and salvation. When the Hebrew people were given manna to sustain them in the wilderness, Moses interprets that daily bread in this way: “in the morning you shall see the glory of the Lord…” (Exod. 16:7). The manna that lay on the ground like morning dew delivered them from death by starvation. Likewise, Jesus comes among us to reveal God’s glory and, in doing so, he delivers us from death. That is why in John’s gospel, even Jesus’ death is said to be his glorification (John 12:27ff).
Death on a cross, a brutal instrument of torture reserved for the worst of offenders, hardly seems a fitting way to “glorify” someone, does it? By worldly standards, glorification should mean having a holiday or a monument named after you, holding a ticker-tape parade in your honor, or, at the very least, a big, fat Christmas bonus and a plaque acknowledging your value to the company or corporation. That’s honor; that’s glorification… by the world’s standards at least. But Jesus’ “glorification” wasn’t for his benefit; it was for our benefit, for our deliverance from death to life; from darkness into the light; from insecurities and fears to becoming confident children of God. Glory to the Son of God who has delivered us, his people! Amen.
Trinity Advent Devotional
Welcome to Advent, 2020, a season like no other. These readings, throughout the Advent season, have all been written by staff and members of Trinity. We hope you’ll enjoy the opportunity to get to know one another better through these prayers, devotions and stories. Even in this challenging time, we celebrate this opportunity to grow in love and service through our relationships with God and with one another.