November 27, 2016 - Rev. Chris Shorow

Isaiah 60:1-3

“Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you. For darkness shall cover the earth, and thick darkness the peoples; but the Lord will arise upon you, and his glory will appear over you. Nations shall come to your light and kings to the brightness of your dawn.”

I grew up in the beautiful state of Oregon, where plants are abundant, but sunshine is not. Whenever Beth would travel to Oregon with me in the summer to visit my family, she would always say, “How could you leave this paradise?’’ My answer was simple—come the other nine months of the year and experience the darkness, the rain and the cloud cover. Okies always have a tough time there because for the non-summer months you don’t see much sunshine. I tend to have a difficult time in the summer here in Oklahoma because it always seems to me that we might never get another raindrop!

My Oregon roots are the reason why I can identify with the unexpected gift that Isaiah is talking about in this scripture. Isaiah is a long book that deals with the difficult times in Israel’s history. The people had been conquered by the Assyrians, then the Babylonians, who were taken over by the Persians, who finally let the Israelites return home. Certainly a very dark time for those people. But Isaiah points to a time when bright light will come upon the people. A savior will come about and his glory will shine over them. An unexpected gift of light.

I remember waking up on some winter mornings in Oregon and seeing the sunshine pouring in my bedroom window. An unexpected gift. And walking out in the cool, crisp sunshine lifted my soul. Isaiah knew that light would change the lives of the Israelites—specifically the light that God gives. The light that overcomes the darkness. We know the wonderful feeling of light in the midst of darkness. After a long and sorrowful night, the sun rises in the morning giving us hope, and a new sense of joy.

So we celebrate the gift of Jesus at Christmas. The gift of light to our world. The gift of joy that overcomes all sadness. The gift that gives us hope eternal.

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