"O house of Jacob, come, let us walk in the light of the Lord" (Isaiah 2:5).
We are all invited and encouraged to walk in the light and life of God.
Even if we feel like the whole venture is too much, or way beyond our capabilities we can draw on others in the community of faith we belong to.
We may not even be consciously aware of their presence or the fact that the universal prayers of the church form an umbilical cord to nourish and sustain us on the journey.
The music of the video below shows the continuous chain of Advent life and light to guide us on the dark and dim journey that we are following.
Kathy Galloway, leader of the Iona Community has this beautiful reflection on the significance of light at this time of the year in her book from darkness into Light where she recognises her shift in understanding the symbolic and real meaning of light as she gets older:
"When I was a child, I used to love the first Sunday in Advent; for the lighting of the first candles on the Advent wreath, and for the hymn ‘Veni Emmanuel’, O come, O come Emmanuel, and for all these readings, which, I didn’t know then but know now, were the great Isaiah texts.
I loved them because they were a sign that something was coming, something was about to happen, some breakthrough was going to be made – and I don’t think it was all just related to Santa Claus and Christmas presents and a baby in a manger, though that was certainly part of it.
It was like something that was both going to happen any day, here, in my world, but was also something happening quite beyond or outside time. It was mysterious and huge and yet not very far from me at all.
When I got a bit older, I thought the feeling was connected with the wonderful hopes and promises of Isaiah, for a world that always needed peace and justice and integrity, and wolves and sheep lying down together, and Advent was about the rebirth of these hopes in the midst of cynicism and apathy. It was about waiting for the coming of the light.
But now I know it wasn’t waiting for the coming of the light. Now I know the light was always there ... before the world began ... beyond time and space, yet coming right down into the midst of my time and space.
Isaiah knew the light was there, and he went half-demented struggling to get people to see it, one minute trying to show them the awful, constrained half-lives they were living, fearful, grabby, scarred by all the things they were always bumping into in the dark, stubbornly refusing to take the risk of joy and beauty and freedom, and the next minute with the vision of life in the light spilling out of him.
St Paul knew the light was there too – no one knew it better than this wee, driven, bossy, complex character, plagued by ill-health and uncomprehending colleagues, yet ablaze with the light across continents, in prison, in constant danger, always trying to convince, to persuade, to lecture and argue and love his little flocks into the freedom of the light."