High River United Church of High River, Alberta
        

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This is the Season of Light - Welcome It

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This is the season of light. We light candles. We connect strings of Christmas lights together. We leave the lights on longer. Daylight is becoming less. Sunlight is low on the horizon and often in our eyes. The lights of the constellation Orion are easily visible. And, we are treated to the lights of Jupiter and Saturn as they form a planetary conjunction on December 21, the first time in about 800 years thus appearing as one light in the southwestern sky. Ghengis Khan’s rule was coming to an end the last time this conjunction was visible in... the year 1226.

 

At the same time this is a season of night. For another week, the nights continue to lengthen. We are mindful of this season of night especially as we come alongside everyone who is experiencing loss, mourning loved ones, remembering those in hospital and ICU units, and thinking of those in long-term care. The nights are long for those most vulnerable right now. While we are remembering those who are lonely, afraid, transitioning from life to death to life beyond death, or suffering from pain, we offer our prayers for God’s light and love to be around them. And with humility, we pray for ourselves, our families and love ones, too. This pandemic night is long and challenging for us—emotionally and physically. We are all experiencing the night right now. It is real. It is long.

 

For those familiar with Zachariah (husband of Elizabeth, father of John the Baptist), you may remember that at the time of John the Baptist’s birth, he proclaimed a beautiful song of wonder and praise that includes these timeless words, “By the tender mercy of God, the dawn from on high will break upon us, to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.” (Luke 1: 78-79).

 

In this season of night, these words from Zechariah stand on their own and remind us that the dawn from on high will break upon us. So true. Over the last few weeks, we have been blessed with spectacular sunrises proclaiming the end of night and the coming of light.

 

No darkness can withstand the light. Light is way more powerful. In Advent, we attach hope, peace, joy and love to candles of light. In just less than a week we will mark the winter solstice and rejoice that the nights will begin to shorten and daylight begins to lengthen. Christmas is a festival of light in so many ways that serves to remind Christians that we are a people who bend toward the light and celebrate the wonder of light born in the infant Jesus called Emmanuel which means, “God With Us”.

 

While we are each in our houses through this holiday season as a gesture of goodwill and care for each other, we invite you to bend toward the light. Cuddle up in the light. Let it dwell within and all around. Hold the light for those you are remembering. Cast a light upon the deep shadows and watch them scamper away as the light chases them beyond us. Plug in the lights and let them warm the room or brighten the house. And rest… Rest in the wisdom that the dawn from on high will break upon us to give light to those who sit in deep night and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.

 

Cast your eyes upon the twinkling points of light in the night sky. Gaze upon the wonder of Saturn and Jupiter as they join together in a glorious conjunction with each other. Let the cosmos embrace you with its light and mystery as a way to mark this special season. Take the time to acknowledge these beautiful lights, bend toward them, and let them be for you a source of hope, peace, joy and love as we celebrate the return of light and the birth of the infant Jesus. Take heart and know that you are loved, held and embraced by heavenly light and our prayers for your highest good through this Advent and Christmas Season.

 

May you know God's peace and love enfolding you this Christmas,
Rev. David & Rev. Susan

High River United Church – a community of help, home & hope

“Just to be is a blessing; just to live is holy.” A. Heschel

www.highriverunitedchurch.org


 

 


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SUNDAY MORNINGS @ 10AM

123 MacLeod Trail S.W. High River, Alberta.

(403) 652-3168

office@highriverunitedchurch.org

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