Advent Door 5: Let Your Face Shine

The Light Above, photo and poem by Tyler Cerka “Look up and see. The Light Above shines on you. Be calm and breathe easy. The Light Above shines on you. Let your soul be cleaned. The Light Above shines on you. Always remember, in your darkest hours. The Light Above shines on you.”

The Advent Door Reading Plan
Day 5 Reading:
Psalm 80:1-7, 17-19

Scripture Summary:
The very broken people of God cry out to God in the midst of their personal and national devastation. Three times they plea, “Restore us, O God of hosts; let your face shine, that we may be saved.”
(vs. 3, 7, 19)

The psalmist and his community do not live in denial of their brokenness. They may yet have some distance to go in discerning and reckoning with their responsibility for their own pain, but they perceive clearly their desperate need for the God who can heal them. Once, twice, and yet again the psalmist cries out for God to illumine them, to save and restore them, to clarify God’s presence among and within them. – Jan Richardson, Through the Advent Door

The first step to wholeness is awareness. It’s a brave thing to raise our head out of the sand, to take off the rosy glasses, to pull our head out of our… you get the idea.

It’s an even braver thing to open ourselves to the blazing light of God’s revelation. To seek the opinion of a friend or even a counselor is a reasonable, accepted action. But to open the door for God to stir up and shine up the corners, crevasses, and closets of our soul is a tremendous act of faith. The purifying fire of God’s truth can be a fearsome place. Facing our sins and shortfalls is never easy. Choosing to listen and live more faithfully is never easy. Yet it is a place of great grace and hope. For it is there, and only there, that we are restored and saved. It is there that we find our true selves and our freedom in God through Christ.

When Jesus said, “I am the light of the world,” he was identifying himself with the primal light of creation itself.  This should not surprise us, because as the agent of creation (John 1:3), he was present as the pre-incarnate Logos to bring light and life to the whole of creation (John 1:4, 9).  The Word became flesh to restore light/life by the conquering of darkness/death (John 3:19-21).  Jesus said it plainly: “I have come as light into the world, so that everyone who believes in me should not remain in darkness” (John 12:46).   E. Stanley Jones captured Christianity’s sentiment by writing, “Jesus put a face on God.”  It is the face of light–the face that reveals God’ creative act and God’s redemptive plan.  We know we are in the presence of God when we experience “light”—when we have some form of darkness dispelled in our lives.  Contrary to the notion of some, that God brings “gloom and doom” to life, the Christian revelation, in the face of Jesus Christ, is that God brings “light and life.”
– Steve Harper, Lumen Fidei: Out of Darkness

Worship Resource: Let Your Face Shine
READ: John 3:19-21 (NRSV)
Jesus said, “And this is the judgment, that the light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil. For all who do evil hate the light and do not come to the light, so that their deeds may not be exposed. But those who do what is true come to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that their deeds have been done in God.”

SING:
I Want to Walk as a Child of the Light
United Methodist Hymnal #206, verse 1
This hymn is also found in other hymnals.

PRAY:
Radiant Creator,
Strong, Wise, One,
Shine in our minds,
Enlighten our understanding of you and your ways
So we may do what is true and live in your light
Restore us, O Lord God of hosts;
Let your face shine, that we may be saved.

SING:
I Want to Walk as a Child of the Light
United Methodist Hymnal #206, verse 2

PRAY:
Breath of Life,
Refiner’s Fire,
Shine in our eyes,
Illumine what is in need of correction and cleansing,
Spark in us your compassion and reign
Restore us, O Lord God of hosts;
Let your face shine, that we may be saved.

SING:
I Want to Walk as a Child of the Light
United Methodist Hymnal #206, verse 3

PRAY:
Jesus, Messiah,
Light of the World,
Shine in our faces,
Make them like Yours
Lighthouses to reflect your love;
Beacons of hope to guide the world to you
Restore us, O Lord God of hosts;
Let your face shine, that we may be saved.

SING:
I Want to Walk as a Child of the Light
United Methodist Hymnal #206, chorus only

*********
This year’s Advent reflections are inspired by the e-book Through the Advent Door: Entering a Contemplative Christmas [Kindle Edition] by author and artist Jan Richardson. In the style of a classic Advent calendar, Jan offers twenty five reflections, each with an original piece of art. Consider this your invitation to join me and Jan on this journey to Christmas. – Lisa <><

For another worship resource praising God’s marvelous light, click here

For more information on the Christian season of Advent, click here

For more information on the scripture translation, art and the use of this devotional in other settings, please refer to the copyright information page.

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