As Jill preached on a passage in Luke 2 yesterday, the words of Simeon’s song have stayed with me. “For these eyes of mine have seen the Savior, whom you have prepared for all the world to see: a light to enlighten the nations, and the glory of your people Israel” – Luke 2:30-32.
As we are in the Christmas season, and as we enter this new calendar year, I think about the ways Christ’s light enlightens and shapes all that we see. In God’s love poured out we have seen the Savior. Once we have seen, we, like Simeon, are changed.
Amidst all that is going on in the world and our lives, I find myself both marveling in Christ’s light shining and simultaneously failing to stop and see the light. I can too often stop at seeing the pain and grief and fail to see the light of God’s work in that place, even in little ways. What is more, I fail to see how God is calling us to be the bearers of light in those places.
On this first day of 2024, I invite us to take a few minutes to look for God’s light. Might we pause, remembering that Christ is the Alpha and Omega, Beginning and End. Might we pause, remembering that the Spirit is comforting and witnessing all around us.
As in the Ignatian Examen tradition, might we pause and sit in God’s presence, giving thanks for God’s love for us. Might we pray for God’s guidance and the grace to see how God is at work in our lives. Might we reflect on our year, remembering the moments when we felt God near us as well as when we felt distance from God. And might we look to tomorrow, thinking on how we can draw nearer to God and be more attentive to God’s presence.
I pray that our eyes might continuously be opened to Christ’s light, which enlightens the nations, and to the ways we are called to bear Christ’s light.
A Prayer for the New Year Eternal God, you make all things new, and abide for ever the same: grant us to begin this year in your faith, and to continue it in your favor; that, being guided in all our doings, and guarded all our days, we may spend our lives in your service, and finally, by your grace, attain the glory of everlasting life; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
- E. Orchard (1877-1955)