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St Johns Southgate

14 Dec 2017

Light in the darkness

5.00am. It’s pitch black. You can’t see a thing. But somehow you manage to walk from your bedroom to the end of the hall where, without even thinking, you reach out a solitary finger and flick on the light switch first go.

Muscle memory is a wonderful thing. For repeated tasks like your early morning walk down the darkened hallway, these seeming feats of greatness are achievable. But for other things, like trying to plug your phone charger into a power point in the middle of the night, we mortals tend to be found wanting.

Most of us, most of the time, manage. We get by. We even have the occasional finger-clicking moment when it feels like we can say, “Let there be light” and it actually happens! But if we’re honest, we need some help finding true enlightenment. If we fumble around in the darkness trying to find the power point for too long, our batteries will eventually go flat.

At St Johns on December 3, we commenced the annual tradition of lighting the candles of the Advent wreath over the four Sundays leading up to Christmas.

The flickering candles give a sense of our anticipation of the warm and bright feelings that will fill the church on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. When finally all the candles in the church are aflame and we’re gathered to sing carols, we will hear these classic words from the first chapter of the Gospel according to John: “The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world”.

Christmas is a time to celebrate a lot of things. But the way in which Christmas highlights the coming of a baby who was to freely offer enlightenment to all people is truly worth beaming about. Finding something, or someone, who will light our path when we’re stumbling in darkness is such a great relief.

Everyone finds themselves taking the occasional wrong turn or tripping over a particularly high life-hurdle. Everyone does. Muscle memory can only get us so far. But the story of the birth of Jesus – a supreme being coming from heaven to the people of earth – tells of a higher power that finds us, plugs into us, and charges our batteries.

Advent candles and shimmering stars atop trees are great. But the greatest Christmas enlightenment is given to humanity, so that in the end we’ll shine like the star of Bethlehem – above, around, and inside of, new life, love and family.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from Pastor Tom and St Johns Southgate.


Tom Hoffmann

Pastor - St Johns Southgate

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