Editor’s Note: The pastor of the Oakwood United Methodist Church, Rev. Brian Thie, was invited to send this newspaper a Christmas sermon for the season....
Need a Light?
Several years ago, I went on a night hike at a camp. The leader of the hike had us put red cellophane wrap over our flashlights. The red cellophane had the wonderful effect of allowing the light to shine through, so we could see where we were walking. But for some reason, red light did not dilate our pupils like white light did. That meant when we looked away from the light, our eyes remained adjusted to the darkness. We could still see the moon and the stars and the beautiful silhouetted trees and hills.
The Christmas, or birth story, from the Gospel of John (John 1:9-10), does not directly name a human baby, as such, but speaks more in vague and ethereal terms, “The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world… yet the world did not know him.”
John is obviously referring to Jesus Christ as light. But he was and still is a different kind of light. One thing his light does is to shine into our souls. That is not a comfortable thought for many. For me it sometimes still isn’t. I know that there are two things the light of Christ will reveal and both frighten me. One is misdeeds or ill intent. The other is giftedness.
Facing our misdeeds or ill intent means we have to deal with the pain we have caused others. Facing our giftedness means we must consider believing in ourselves and risking ourselves before a watching world. Again, this is not comfortable. But faith teaches us that God, through the light of Christ, helps us deal with these things in life giving and life restoring ways.
I like being comfortable. I like relaxing with family or friends. I like the comfort of financial security. I like knowing friends and family like their work and that their jobs are secure. I suspect Jesus was more comfortable in heaven than he was on earth. But he set a comfortable heaven aside to enter into this life; to walk among us. That tells me that this life is more about adventure and less about comfort.
Adventures often take us into the unknown, the unexpected, and sometimes the unimaginable. There are dangerous things out there in the dark. There is much to fear. But we have a great friend and guide for the adventure. He helps light our path without blurring our vision into those dimly lit places in our lives.
May the subtle glowing red light of Christ shine into your life this Christmas. For he was born for us, lived for us, taught us, challenged us, died for us, and was risen again for us, that we would know the immeasurable gift of the love of God. God loves you. And that is not something we simply believe. It is an adventure of faith that we learn to live, with Jesus Christ as our light and our guide.
Grace and peace to you,
Reverend Brian Thie
Kudos for Lt. Chuck Balaj
I just wanted to publicly thank Lt. Chuck Balaj. A couple of weeks ago I was involved in an accident in Oakwood. Lt. Balaj was quick to respond, and he handled the situation in a kind, professional manner.
I know that many of us often take our police for granted, so I wanted to say “THANKS!” As someone said recently at Starbucks, “Lt. Balaj is the kind of police officer that your children can look up to.” That’s a rare treat in this world. So, “Thanks for being what a police officer should be Lt. Balaj!”