celtic preayers

December - The light that came into the World

sunshine

 

In this season of expectation
We prepare to welcome Christ Jesus, Messiah

Into the bustle of our lives
and the hard to find moments of solitude
We prepare to welcome Christ Jesus, Messiah

Into our homes and situations
along with friends and families
We prepare to welcome Christ Jesus, Messiah

Into our hearts, and those often hidden parts of our lives
We prepare to welcome Christ Jesus, Messiah

For beneath the surface of your story
is an inescapable fact
You entered this world
as vulnerable as any one of us
in order to nail that vulnerability to the cross.
Our fears, our insecurities and our sins
all that can separate us from God
exchanged by your Grace for Love.
We cannot comprehend the reasoning
only marvel that Salvation comes to us
through a baby born in a stable,
and reaches out to a world in need.

In this season of anticipation
We prepare to welcome Christ Jesus, Messiah


God sent a man named John, who came to tell about the light and to lead all people to have faith. John wasn’t that light. He came only to tell about the light .... they said, “Who are you then? We have to give an answer to the ones who sent us. Tell us who you are!”
John answered in the words of the prophet Isaiah, “I am only someone shouting in the desert, ‘Get the road ready for the Lord!’ ”
John 1:6

John was different. You might very well cross the road to avoid bumping into him, but you couldn’t ignore him. It was as if his choice of clothing and indeed his whole lifestyle was a political act, a deliberate and very visible protest against the excesses of modern life as it was then.

But John wasn’t living near any town. He was in the desert, and a particularly hostile area between the centre of Judaea and the Dead Sea – a limestone desert which was unbearably hot in the daytime. If you wanted to find somewhere to be alone with your thoughts, to find solitude, then you couldn’t wish for a better place.

There was also something about the man’s appearance that spoke to those who saw him. It jogged a memory at the back of their mind about one of the greatest of their prophets, Elijah.

“What kind of man was it who came up to meet you and told you these words?” So they answered him, “A hairy man wearing a leather belt around his waist.” And he said, “It is Elijah the Tishbite.” 2Kings 1:8

To be recognised simply by the clothes you wear must be the ultimate fashion statement!

John the Baptist, a man sent by God. Can you think of any contemporary person tp whom you could fit that description?

The media is always very quick to label individuals as ‘prophets of our time’ be they politicians, pop stars, astrologers or just well known personalities with something to say about society. But who would we say are those ‘sent by God’ to deliver God’s judgement or comment on the world today?

They might not be the people you would expect, just like John wasn’t perhaps the person we might have chosen. Maybe someone well known like Nelson Mandela, who in his inaugural address in 1994 asked his listeners to recognise themselves as ‘born to make manifest the glory of God within us’.

He challenged us to let our light shine because by doing so ‘we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.'

But maybe it could be someone less well known, writing a letter to the newspaper or speaking up at a community meeting to try and put right an injustice.

Or perhaps we don’t think there are such prophets in the world today? But if we start thinking like that then we run the risk of saying in effect that God no longer speaks, no longer takes an interest in this world he created.

So it was that word spread about this strange man in the desert who reminded people of the great prophets of old. It must have been similar in the days of the great Welsh preachers such as Daniel Rowlands, Howel Harris and their contemporaries. There were no methods of mass communications such as we have now, no radio or TV to keep people informed as to what was going on. But word spread slowly but surely, and curiosity if nothing else would ensure that people travelled great distances to be a part of what was happening in their country.

And what did they get for all their effort? They found someone who not only had a message to preach but someone who lived that message.

And that can be a bit scary, as the authorities in John's day discovered. To them he was a loose canon, and they needed to know who on earth he thought he was. Was he claiming to be Elijah or the prophet that had been foretold in Malachi 4? Was he just some poor demented soul affected by the desert heat?

No! John claimed to be nothing other than a voice shouting in the desert, preparing the way for all that was to follow, the coming of the Messiah.

It wasn’t as if John told the people anything that they didn’t already know, but the words he spoke went straight to the heart. Plato once said that education didn’t consist of telling people new things, merely extracting from their memories what they already knew.

John would have them and us believe that he wasn’t worthy even to take the place of a servant, but in that humility those who saw John recognised that he was worthy of the respect and honour that they showed him.

John the Baptist is a wonderful role model for any Christian. If the world out there asks us as individuals and the Church ‘Who are you… and what do you stand for’ what are we going to say? Are we going to give the impression by our words that we’re somehow better than they are because we go to Church?

Or are we like John going to show by our lives that it’s not to us that they should look, but through us to the One who is the light of the world. That we, like John are voices shouting in the desert – and what an apt description of the spiritual state of the world that is – that there is a Saviour who is Jesus Christ who has come into the world, and will come again in Glory.

Who are the prophets today? Where are the men and women of God who are willing to live the Gospel message and proclaim it by their words and in their lives in this town? Because if they are not here, in your town or city then what hope is there for the Church. And if the Gospel is not being proclaimed, the light being revealed, then what hope is there for the world.

Are you called to share the news that Light has come into this dark world?