Advent devotional: O Morning Star

This devotional was prepared by Pastor Aaron in connection with our sermon series on the O'Antiphons.

O Morning Star,
splendor of light eternal and sun of righteousness:
Come and enlighten those who dwell in darkness
and the shadow of death.

Psalm 27
Numbers 24:15b-19
Revelation 22:10-21

When you watch the evening news, how would you describe your emotions afterward? When you scroll through Twitter or Facebook, would you describe yourself as more joyful, peaceful and hopeful? Or do you find yourself more stressed, anxious and fearful?

When you watch the news, it’s pretty dark — partisan politics, political bickering, division, racism, violence, and death.

Episcopal priest and author Fleming Rutledge writes, “Advent begins in the dark.”

Advent is a time to “take a fearless inventory of the darkness,” according to Rutledge. This doesn’t take much work today. Every day we are bombarded with news about evil in our world.

But Advent also invites us to take inventory of the darkness in our own lives. I recently completed the Emotionally Focused Family course where I took stock of the anxiety in my life and in my family system. I began feeling really overwhelmed when I considered how I tend to pass on my own anxiety to my wife and my children. I felt discouraged when I considered the unhealthy ways I show up when I am stressed.

But about halfway through my Emotionally Focused journey, I felt the Lord remind me that I am not to look at the darkness in my life in the way the world does. So often the world looks at the evil in the world and the stress in their own life without hope. But the invitation of Advent is to look to the darkness with Christian hope knowing that light has come and is coming.

Advent is a season to remember “the people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.” During Advent, we cling to the truth of John 1:5 – “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”

Jesus, our morning star, would your light break into our darkness and bring us Advent hope?

Take a few moments to take stock of the darkness in the world or your life. What are the things that break your heart? Where does it seem like darkness has overcome the light? Take a moment to pray for these places and situations and ask the Lord to bring you Advent hope.
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