This Advent I’m delighted to bring you a variety of voices – authors, pastors, theologians, and philosophers – each of whom has a unique and beautiful take on a particular passage of Scripture related to the Advent season.
My prayer is that these reflections would help guide your devotional life as you participate in this season of holy waiting.
Without further ado, let’s continue with a reflection from author Cara Meredith.
Light * An Advent Devotional by Cara Meredith
Lately, tiredness has marked every part of me. By 8 o’clock at night, I’m ready to grip a steaming cup of Sleepytime tea and start my brainless, before-bed reading time.
Is this because of Daylight Savings? I ask my husband one night as we sit on the couch, my head heavy like a sack of potatoes against his shoulder. Life? Parenting? Work? Too much on my plate? Not enough yoga or vitamin B12 in my diet? All of the above? He pats my leg, hopeful that this tiredness too shall pass, that his wife shall someday return to the land of the living (or at least to the land of those who stay up past nine on a school night).
But then, early early the next morning, it hits me.
“Mama, mama!” I rush to the boys’ room, anxious to quell the cries of the five-year old, mostly so he won’t wake up his brother.
“Hey buddy, what do you want? It’s the middle of the night,” I whisper to him. Patience, I think to myself, is not always my virtue, or at least not when both of us are supposed to be sleeping. But he is not deterred.
“Mama, it’s AM, not MP!”
“It’s the AM, not the MP – it’s the morning!” Accidentally mixing up the letters “m” and “p” is darling in a way, but not when he still has three hours until he’s supposed to wake up for school.
“Go back to sleep, dude. Night, night. Love you.” I lay on the floor beside him, his small hand gripping my own as both of us try and rest for a few more hours. But as I prop myself up against a mountain of stuffed animals and blankets, my eyes never quite adjust to the light that’s starting to creep through the windows.
And that’s when it comes full circle for me: just as my body hasn’t adjusted to the time change yet, his hasn’t either. Soon enough, I’ll not feel the need to go to bed right after the dinner hour, just as he’ll not feel the impulse to wake with the sun. But for now, my boy is keenly attuned to the new light of day.
It’s like he senses, deep within the confines of sleep, that light has come, that light is breaking in. With this, he wakes with the dawn, when the light first begins to break into the darkness of his room.
And is it any different for us in the season of Advent either?
Then your light shall break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up quickly; your vindicator shall go before you, the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.
When I read the words of the prophet Isaiah, I am reminded of how Christ broke into darkness then and breaks into our darkness now. Perhaps it’s no wonder that Advent falls during a season of darkness, that Light somehow pierces the darkness mere days after the darkest night of the year.
And I don’t know about you, but I’m always ready for the light to appear, for light to “break forth like the dawn.” By the time Christmas Day rolls around, it’s like I’m itchy with anticipation for healing to come, for the hope of Christ to make itself known on otherwise hopeless feeling situations.
I’m ready for the miracle. I’m ready to be cleared of wrongdoing and made anew by the baby whose very existence clears me of blame, just as I’m ready for slivers of glory to cushion peace and safety in the most vulnerable of places.
I’m ready, I’m ready, I’m ready for light, I say aloud, maybe to myself, maybe to heaven above.
But in the meantime, I will wait with bated breath for the light that is to come.
Cara Meredith is a writer, speaker and conversationalist from the San Francisco Bay Area. Her book, The Color of Life (Zondervan 2019), is a spiritual memoir about her journey as a white woman into issues of justice, race and privilege. She holds a Masters of Theology from Fuller Seminary, and is passionate about helping folks engage in the kinds of conversations that matter. You can connect with her on her website, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.