Become Light: Advent Devotional Day 28

Become Light: Advent Devotional Day 28
photo credit: martinak15 347/365 That Christmas Feeling via photopin (license)

Four weeks ago, my friend Rachel (who usually blogs at Teacher Reader Mom) and I decided to take turns and write a devotional-ish-kind-of-thingie every day for the 28 days before Christmas, the time known as Advent on the Christian liturgical calendar. Both of us were wandering around post-election, fighting anger and despair and fear, and wondering what God could possibly be thinking or doing right now. So we started writing about all that on this blog, looking at and struggling with the scriptures suggested for each day by the Revised Common Lectionary.

It’s day 28 and yes, it’s been a wild ride. Here is Rachel with her thoughts on the text for the day.

The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness on them light has shined.
–Isaiah 9:2

It’s been a hard year.

Not that that needed to be said.

It’s been a hard year to be a person who believes in the goodness of people. A hard year to believe that there is justice. Or mercy. Or grace. Or love.

The kind of year that prompted one of my friends to say, “The moral arc of the universe is too long.”

Yeah. That.

I spent the last ten years working in Chicago Public Schools.

One question I asked a lot, usually after some event in the world, or in the neighborhood, something hard, was, “How am I going to talk about this with my kids?”

Because that was my job, as a teacher. To be aware of what is going on in their lives and to give them a voice to tell about it. To give them a space to have opinions and anger, hope and fear, sadness and joy.

I wanted to protect them from the bad things, to hold them in a bubble of ignorance. To preserve some kind of childhood, for them.

I wanted answers.

Here’s what happened. Every single time. I didn’t talk to my students, they talked to me.

Like when Brandon came up to me in the days after the Haiti earthquake and asked me if I knew what had happened. In his hands he held a glass jar of coins. His dad told me later that Brandon had been saving the coins for over a year to buy a videogame player or shoes.

But Brandon gave every one of his precious pennies to the people of Haiti.

Brandon has been on my mind the past few days. How in his youth and innocence there was no question of what to do with his money. He didn’t wonder if he was doing enough, he didn’t think that maybe he could invest that money for a great future yield. He was eight years old. He saw the situation with the most need and he gave to it. He gave everything.


Maybe sometimes things are that simple. Maybe sometimes the answers are exactly what we learned when we were young.

When someone is hungry, you feed them. When someone is hurting, you sit next to them. When someone needs money and you have money, you give it to them. When there is something that is unfair, you call it out, you make it right.

When there is great darkness, you become the light.

And the answers that I want, they always seem to be the same. Share. Be kind. Give. Love. Forgive. Repeat.

Tomorrow is Christmas. Tomorrow is the end of this month of Advent, of waiting. Tomorrow is the day we remember that God placed the hopes of the world in the body of a tiny child.

A child. A reminder that sometimes the simplest things are true.

A hope that the moral arc is bending, birthing in us a great light.

The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness on them light has shined.

We close today with a song called, “With Nothing,” a Christmas song that reminds us that Jesus came with nothing, no wealth, no power, barely a penny to his name — he came with nothing but love — yet that love became light enough for the whole world.

Available for free download here, on NoiseTrade.

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During Advent my friend Rachel and I decided to write a devotional-ish kind of thing every day. To learn more about that, read this.

When it’s not Advent, I usually post about once a week. Feel free to check out the archives to see what I do on a regular basis. You can learn a bit more about me and why I started this blog, here.

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