Pastoral Ponderings: A little illumination

Light illuminates the darkness and helps tell the story, in this week’s Pastoral Ponderings

Robin King

Pastoral Ponderings

When I imagine the Christmas Story, I imagine most things happened in the darkness.

Sure, Mary and Joseph probably travelled to Bethlehem by day and, for some reason, I have it my head that the angel Gabriel visited Mary sometime around noon – don’t ask me why – but, generally, the key moments all happened in the dark.

We need the darkness to tell the story.

Of course, because it’s a story about light. From the prophetic – “the people that walked in darkness have seen a great light” and “arise, shine, for your light is come” – to the narrative itself – “the glory of the Lord shone round about them” and the star the magi followed “from its rising” – to John’s great metaphor – “the light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it” – it’s all about the light.

And the dark. And the light.

Okay, we need both. The story isn’t just about the light coming into the world. It can’t be. Because if you look only at the light, you’ll be blinded. What it’s about, is what the light illuminates in the dark.

The light of the angels and the star lead the shepherds and the magi, respectively, to Jesus. But was it exactly what they were expecting? I want to say, “I doubt it” because it is absolutely worth remembering that the kind of messiah, the kind of great ruler that the people would likely have been expecting to fulfill the prophecy, would not have been born to poor people, far from home, and placed in a manger for a bed.

So, I doubt that they found what they were expecting. At first. But the story’s not about the light, so much as what the light illuminates. And what the light showed them in that moment was a new life, a new love and the power of love to break into the darkness, just like the light, and show a way forward.

I think the story of the magi, in particular, reminds us that we walk everyday in the light of the unexpected. This is the light of love that draws us in and shows us so much more than our expectations limit us to, a light that shows us the world around us and how we are a part of it. It doesn’t just shine, it illuminates, enlightens and ignites.

This is what the season of Epiphany is all about. Between Christmas and Lent, it’s full of stories about how Jesus is revealed (that’s what “epiphany” means), but to look at it that way would be just like looking at the sun. What’s important is how those stories of revealing illuminate our own journey.

The light, after all, shines on you. It is reflected into the world by you. It is carried into the world by you.

Just Posted

UPDATED: Calgary Police receive multiple bomb threats

Similar threats received across Canada and the United States

Guards injured, money stolen during overnight blast at Edmonton bank

Alberta Health Services said the injuries to the male guard were serious

Stars all align for Hockey Day in Bashaw

The annual day to celebrate local hockey brings out great support in Bashaw

Motorist flees police near Ponoka, escapes on foot

While attempting a traffic stop police say the driver sped off before hitting the ditch

Fashion Fridays: How to change your beauty routine

Kim XO, lets you in on her style secrets each Fashion Friday on the Black Press Media Network

EU leaders vow to press on with ‘no-deal’ Brexit plans

European Union leaders have offered Theresa May sympathy but no promises, as the British prime minister seeks a lifeline.

Powerful winds set to hit Metro Vancouver, Fraser Valley, Vancouver Island

The agency says winds in coastal areas will strengthen up to 70 kilometres an hour before the front moves inland and gusts reach 90 kilometres an hour.

Mandatory victim surcharge cruel and unusual punishment, top court rules

Stephen Harper’s Conservative government made the charges mandatory in 2013.

Tourism minister postpones trip to China amid tensions between two countries

Tourism Minister Melanie Joly’s office says Canada and China have mutually agreed to postpone a closing ceremony next week.

Police across Canada probe bomb threats as U.S. authorities dismiss ‘hoax’

A police spokesman said the emails were the same as those received elsewhere in North America

France shooter killed Thursday during police operation

7 more being held by police in shooting investigation

Ex-Trump lawyer: Hush money paid over election concerns

Michael Cohen was sentenced Wednesday to three years in federal prison

Coach accused of sexual assault says apology letter was misinterpreted

Dave Brubaker has pleaded not guilty to one count of sexual assault and one count of invitation to sexual touching

Most Read