Light of all lights, illumine me with the brightness of your holiness, so that I may today reflect in some small measure your brilliant purity. Put to flight, Light of light, the brooding clouds of the world, and shine into the darkness of my soul. Warm my heart and guide my steps, so that my life may be worship and my worship glorifying to you. Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, shine upon us in your infinite majesty—Amen.
Praise be to the Author of Life, in the new days of Easter. Days rainy, days sunny, you bring forth the bloom in its yearly parable of resurrection. Be glorified, Lord of light and wind and water. Be glorified, Lord of life and warmth and joy. Be glorified, blessed Triune Redeemer: Father Eternal, Spirit of Mercy, Victorious Son. Be praised and glorified now and forever—Amen.
A beautiful counterpoint to the gloomy tragedy of the news cycle is Psalm 33:5, “The LORD loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of his unfailing love” (NIV).
Men advance wickedness and corrupt justice, but God is good and true. God is holy, God is love. And God’s love reaches down to us.
God’s love is superabundant. The world is full of His love. He pours out His mercy on us every day in myriad ways; He showed His mercy decisively on the cross, where the Son of God bore upon Himself the sin of the world.
God’s love is invincible. The world abounds with His unfailing love. His mercy reaches down to us again and again, to the worst of sinners, to the fallen faithful, to the undeserving and the lost. This is the grounds of the glorious gospel message: the love of God reaches even to you, even to me.
This world is lost in darkness, but it is also full of God’s unfailing love. And God’s love is stronger than sin, God’s light cuts through the darkness. His kingdom will come in fullness, and all who recieve His love in Jesus Christ will live forever.
A star arose millennia ago, drawing wise men to worship the King. O King of Kings, draw our hearts likewise to seek you in adoration and praise. Let the dawning of this day be the rising of a star to me, to beckon my soul to worship my King. Receive me as I am, nothing in myself and perfect in you. Receive my praise for the sake of your glory; you are the great and glorious One, the Light of life, worthy of all worship and honor—Amen.
Light of the world, light this day with the light of your love. You dawned on our dark world, unknown by the shadows and by your own; but the darkness cannot defeat you. You have pierced the darkness with the brilliance of your holiness, the fire of your love. Awaken my heart with wonder and praise, Light of Christmas, born to bring us life. Christmas dawns, and we have seen your light.
What marvel compares to your amazing love, everlasting God? What could ever equal the gift of Christ, the joy of Christmas? You have sent light into our darkness, hope into our despair; you have borne our sins and offered the promise of life to those who believe. Lift us up today in gratitude and expectation—looking back to the first advent of your glorious grace, and forward to the second advent of your magnificent reign.
The sun has set, but your burning light remains in my heart. No darkness can withstand you, Light of the world. Be still my light in the hours of darkness, to keep me fixed on things eternal and guard me from temptation and harm. You came into this world as life-giving Light; make my life a testimony to the true Life, a reflection of the true Light of all. Light my way, even in darkest night—Amen.
In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. (Luke 1:26-27, NIV)
Thus begins the story of the Annunciation. This follows on the story of the angel Gabriel’s visit to Zechariah to announce that his wife, Elizabeth, would give birth to John–the forerunner of the Messiah. But what a powerful contrast is formed between that scene and the one that follows.
The wonderful work of God is unexpected.
Gabriel announced the birth of the forerunner to Zechariah, a priest of good standing, in the temple of God, in Jerusalem the political and religious center of Israel. But Gabriel was sent to announce the birth of the Messiah Himself to an ordinary peasant girl in a backwater village.
Thus God shows that His purposes do not unfold in the ways of the world.
Galilee is far from Jerusalem, and a region of some suspicion to other Israelites; Nazareth is a town of some suspicion to other Galileans (see Jn. 1:46)! But here in an insignificant and inauspicious setting, God chooses the mother who will bear the Savior.
What do we know of Mary? Very little. She is twice described as a virgin, and in the context of her engagement we may infer that she was in her young teens–the normal age for marriage in that place and time. As the narrative unfolds, we see her courage, character, and faithful submission to God. But she is no one the world would regard as powerful or important.
Joseph, though a descendant of David, is nowhere close to the throne. He is, we may say, a good blue-collar Jewish man.
Through such ordinary faithful people, God sent His Son into the world. The very setting of the Annunciation prompts us to reflect on the wonderful grace of God, who reaches down to us in our sin and darkness.
Light has come into our darkened world; and it has come through and come to ordinary men and women who follow God in faith.
Bright comes your blessing, with newness of the morning. God Most High, be glorified today—in your world, in your church, and in my life and my heart. Make me bright with the slightest reflection of your radiant beauty; make me to follow in the steps of Jesus, the Light of the world. Jesus Christ, God of glory, Gift of Christmas long ago, turn me from myself so that you will be most precious to me today.
In darkness as in light, you are light, Lord God. You were a pillar of fire to Israel; be also to me a flame in the night. Drive away all the shadows, Holy Light. In mercy, let me keep near to you until the day is new. Guide my thoughts and guard my soul from danger and temptation. Let me rest secure in the power of your glory. Warm my heart with your never-ending love. Bless me tonight, I ask—Amen.