THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD By: Pastor Katherine Neel

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Yet in thy dark streets shineth the everlasting light; the hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight.” from O Little Town of Bethlehem

It is the time of year when nights are the darkest and longest in our part of the world. In recent months, our world has also experienced darkness of its own in terrorist attacks that occur on a regular basis in many parts of the globe stealing away lives of hope and creating an atmosphere of fear. And in our own lives and communities, we are fearful of many things. Some wonder whether they will have enough money after paying the bills to buy a Christmas gift for their children.Some of us are fearful of failing – at work, at school, at home – of not meeting the expectations that others have set for us, or the impossible ideals we hold ourselves too. Some are so fearful of not being the perfect parent, spouse, child that they literally drive themselves crazy with depression and anxiety. Some of us are afraid to admit anything going wrong in our lives and so we go about with a happy smile on our face and say “I’m fine” whenever anyone asks us how we are doing. the world around us and the world within us create our own forms of darkness.

It is into this darkness that the everlasting light shines. The light of the world who is Jesus. We will spend the coming weeks focusing on that light, how it shines in the darkness and how it illuminates our hopes and fears. Jesus was born a baby and grew into a man in order to shine a light of life and love into the darkness of the world. And Jesus continues to come down to shine in our darkness, revealing our shadowy fears and guiding us into the light of hope.

Cross of Glory has experienced its own share of fear and darkness in this last year, especially the past several months. And some of you may still be fearful about the future. But know this, you wonderful people called by God, a new light is dawning on the horizon, the light of Jesus that will lead us into a hopeful future filled with possibility! Your leadership will continue to update you on the process we are undergoing with the synod and the ELCA office for congregational renewal and redevelopment. Join them in trusting the promises and guidance of God and pray for continued blessings in our life together.

There are many opportunities at CoG for you to join us in exploring the everlasting light of Jesus who meets us in our hopes and fears which have been part of the human story for many years. Join us in worship on Sundays at 9:30 as we shine light to expose our fears and reveal the bright hope we have in Jesus’ coming. Join us on Wednesday evenings for a meal, learning and worship as we explore the light that shines in the darkness and in us. Join us at Brunch following worship on the 13th as we celebrate those who are joining our community of faith. Join us to celebrate Jesus’ birth at one of our three services on Christmas Eve. My prayer for you this month is this: May God who comes to be with us in this season of darkness ease your fears and fill you with bright hope!

Wishing you a blessed Advent and Christmas! ~ Pastor Kit