Advent Devotional for December 22, 2012

Lectionary readings for today:

Morning Psalms 90, 149
Evening Psalms 80, 72
Isa. 31:1–9
Rev. 21:22—22:5
Luke 1:39–48a (48b–56)

Image Credit: NASA

Image Credit: NASA

Well, if you are reading this, chances are you “survived” the “end of the world” that was predicted for yesterday, December 21 (my birthday! What a present! HaHa!) No doubt you have heard some of the hubbub about the Mayan calendar that only goes up to yesterday’s date. For the Mayans, today becomes the beginning of a New Age, ushering in a whole new world where PEACE will reign. That was likely their understanding of what this conclusion of a calendar meant. (I cannot refrain from noting that the plethora of doomsday reports of apocalypse are mostly prevalent in the USA, which has a fascination with such thinking, although most of the rest of the world does not. But that’s a topic for another day.)

So, has it happened? On this day of the Winter Solstice, are we in a New Age of PEACE?

A bit of background history. To paraphrase my friend Alexander Shaia (

), “Solstice Night (Dec 21) was for a thousand years the night we observed Christmas. Then when Pope Gregory reformed the calendar in the 16th century – every day on the calendar slipped three days earlier. In the revised calendar, Solstice was now the night of the 21st rather than the 25th. This put Christendom in a quandary. What to do with the date of Christmas – should it be changed to the 21st or left on its traditional day of the 25th? After great theological debate – an answer arrived. Solstice literally means ‘sun stand still.’ To the naked eye one cannot see the light of the sun increasing until three mornings after Solstice night. That was the answer. On the third morning after Solstice (Dec 25) – the earth and all people of the Northern Hemisphere rejoice – for we now experience light re-born!”

Even now, we wait in the darkness over these next 3 days, the last 3 days of Advent, for God’s Light to be born anew! So I invite you, as we move into the 12 Days of Christmas and a new year, to tend the Light. Pay attention to the Light of Christ becoming fuller in your life. Take note of the ways that the Prince of Peace is moving in your midst and among us. Be aware of how God is urging you to “experience light” and know peace and live in love. Then let that be your Christmas gift to yourself, your family, your community, your world.

-Rob Stewart

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