During the hurricane episodes in some parts of Texas and Florida, someone shared an experienced with me that turned out to be a framework for reflection. According to Nelson, his family had a sad experience because they had to stay all night in darkness because of an unscheduled power outage due to the hurricane siege. He goes further to tell me that joy only returned to their home at the restoration of the light the next day. While listening to him, I was at the same time reflecting on the connection he was making between darkness and sadness on the one hand and light and joy on the other hand.
Before God started the creation of the world, the first facility He provided was light: “and God said, let there be light, and there was light” (Gen.1:3). Light, in the form of fire, often heralds the presence of God and we can attest this with some biblical examples:
- Moses encountered God by the burning bush (Exo 3:2).
- God marched with the people of Israel through the desert by the pillar of fire at night to give them light (Exodus 13:21-22).
- David tells us the word of God is his light and salvation (Psalm 27:1).
- The prophecy of Isaiah concerning the Messiah indicates that those living in darkness would see a great light (Isaiah 9:2).
- Saul encountered our Lord Jesus Christ on his way to Damascus through a great light (Acts 9:3).
- Peter tell us that God called us out of darkness into his marvelous light (1Pet. 2:9b)
On this Third Sunday of Advent, the Readings invite us to rejoice because the light is close coming to us. We are like people waiting for a delivery package, and a message comes saying that the package is on its way and would be arriving soon. The joy of someone waiting for a delivery leverages on the utility of the content of the package.
Today, we are invited to rejoice because our liberation is at hand. This announcement indicates to us that Christmas is a time of spiritual liberation. The birth of Jesus Christ marks the beginning of a new era for us. The First Reading (Isaiah 61:1-2a, 10-11) tells us that he is coming:
- To bring good tidings to the poor.
- To heal the broken-hearted.
- To proclaim liberty to the captives.
- To release the prisoners.
- To announce the Lord’s year of favor and vindication.
Our Lord Jesus Christ is the light of the world (John 8:12). He is coming to dispel and overcome the darkness in our lives (John 1:5). The darkness includes all the evil things that hurt us, our spiritual captivity and imprisonment. In the Second Reading (1 Thess. 5:16-24), St. Paul tells us to rejoice always but also to pray without ceasing as we await the coming of the Messiah. He also encourages us to refrain from every evil while praying to God to make us entirely holy in spirit, soul, and body for the coming of the Lord.
Do not allow anything or anyone to take away your joy as the Lord’s coming draws nearer. Do not worry about anything, but pray about everything (Eph. 4:6). I repeat it, rejoice and keep rejoicing your liberation is nearby. Remain committed, hold firm; the darkness would soon turn into light, and the glory of God will dawn in your life. Rejoice and keep rejoicing.
I wish you a beautiful and joyful Third Week of Advent and a glorious week.