Skip to main content

Advent Day 12: A Light for Those Other People

I almost went to bed without posting this.  It usually takes me mulling over a passage all day before the light breaks through and I get an "Ah-ha" moment of clarity and excitement that makes sharing it possible.

Tonight the ah-ha hit while I was tucking my youngest in bed. 

The three sections of Luke's narrative on Christ's birth that always catch me are:

  1. Mary's reaction to the shepherds: She treasured and pondered the message they brought about her son.
  2. Simeon's prophecy about Jesus to Mary:  He would pierce her soul and be opposed and expose people's thoughts and hearts.
  3. Simeon's prayer and praise before prophesying to Mary: 
Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace, according to your word; for my eyes have seen your salvation that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel.- Luke 2:29-32

The third is what I want to dwell on tonight.  It's the "light for revelation to the Gentiles" part.

In the Bible, Gentiles refers to all non-Jews.  According to a Jew, if you weren't a Jew you were a Gentile.  Basically if you were a Jew, Gentiles were all those other people out there.  

As I've been thinking about this verse today and why it catches me I found myself arguing with myself.  I do that.  I think it's healthy actually.  I found myself saying, "Self, as soon as you hear the word Gentile, a lot of context and history come up in your mind.  Its sort of like thinking you remember that time when you were four and smudged ice cream on your nose and said a prayer in Dairy Queen, but you're not sure if you really remember it or if you have some memory created by all the times you've been told the story of when you smudged your nose with ice cream and said a prayer in Dairy Queen.  You don't really know what it means to feel like a Gentile, but you know what preachers have told you it means and it makes you glad Jesus came to be a light to them, because you are one.  But what would it feel like if you were there.  Then.  And you were called a Gentile and seen as the "other people" because you weren't born a Jew?" 

That little argument with myself stuck with me all day.  And then tonight it hit me:  The woman Jesus called a dog knew what it felt like!!

Jesus called a woman a dog?!  You might be scandalized by that but try to not impose current vulgar thoughts and crudeness on the man who knelt protectively beside a woman freshly pulled out of sex with a man who wasn't her husband and thrown to the ground as bait for a trap set for Jesus by the religious Jewish leaders of his day.  (See John 8:1-11)   When reading the account below, don't get stuck on Jesus' comparison of the woman to a dog... he wasn't being crude or rude.  He was drawing a picture with his words to describe an ultimate truth about who he is and why he came, giving the woman an opportunity to respond to this truth in faith.  Let's just read:

And Jesus went away from there and withdrew to the district of Tyre and Sidon. And behold, a Canaanite woman from that region came out and was crying, "Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David; my daughter is severely oppressed by a demon." But he did not answer her a word. And his disciples came and begged him, saying, "Send her away, for she is crying out after us." He answered, "I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel." But she came and knelt before him, saying, "Lord, help me." And he answered, "It is not right to take the children's bread and throw it to the dogs." She said, "Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters' table." Then Jesus answered her, "O woman, great is your faith! Be it done for you as you desire." And her daughter was healed instantly.- Matthew 15:21-28

When Mary and Joseph brought baby Jesus to the temple to be dedicated to God and old Simeon sees him and praises God thanking him for letting him see the One who would be, "...a light for revelation to the Gentiles.", he was announcing that Jesus would be shinning so brightly as truth that an obscure Canaanite woman would see and believe who he was.  And an even more obscure Roseburgian woman would too 2000 plus years later, along with millions of others in between.

In fact, the light of Christ shines so bright, it blazes forward into time from his birth on to reveal the truth of God and life to me and the Canaanite woman who met Jesus as an adult.  And it was dimly seen with eyes of faith by the woman from Jericho who looked at the people of Israel and saw a glimmer of the truth about God as revealed in his people long before Jesus came.

Christ came through the people of Israel.  It is the way God chose to reveal himself.  He came to save them and multitudes of other people from every tribe, tongue and nation.  He is the bread of life, whether you get a crumb, or a whole slice you get life unending!   And he is the light of the world, whether you saw a glimpse of him before he came in the flesh or after he died and rose from the dead you'll be exposed and aware of the truth of who he is and what life is all about!

Christ came through Israel, and he comes through all who believe- to be a light to the other people!

Oh Lord! Let the light of Christ shine through me, that others who don't know him might believe in him too and be glad!

May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face to shine upon us, that your way may be known on earth, your saving power among all nations. Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you! Let the nations be glad and sing for joy, for you judge the peoples with equity and guide the nations upon earth. Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you! The earth has yielded its increase; God, our God, shall bless us. God shall bless us; let all the ends of the earth fear him!- Psalm 67


Popular posts from this blog

eyes on the Author- the every morning struggle to walk by faith

I don't wake up full of vision and motivation.  Actually, what motivates me most is the idea that my french press and single-origin coffee from Guatemala are just minutes away from awaking my senses with it's warm, toasty aroma.  And on those days when I get my stiff, puffy-eyed body out of bed and make my way to the cabinet to prep the press with my favorite coffee and find we're out, I feel great motivation to get dressed and drive to the local store so I can hurry up and get back home before too much time has passed and get my coffee going.

Basically, coffee motivates me to get up in the morning.

Mixed in the grogginess between eyes open and that first cup of coffee I remember who I am.

I am not my own.  I am a Christian.  The weight of meaning in that word falls on me like gravity on the fledgling attempts of a young eagle to fly every morning.

I feel myself falling.  Falling. Squawking out a cry, "Help!  Help Lord!  I am yours. Let me hear your loving kindness…

post anesthesia thoughts

(has nothing to do with the post, just a pretty pic i took a long time ago)
I'm not going to over think this post too much.  I had minor surgery today and am still feeling drunk on leftover anesthesia/fentanyl/percocet.  Consider yourself and the three other people reading this warned.
In the past few weeks I've been listening to podcasts from writers, reading articles about blogging and freelance writing, etc.  In one of those I was admonished to write something daily.  Be it a blog post, a journal entry, a poem... something.  Because writers don't just think about writing, they write.  I think my pastor said or wrote that once too.  It struck me then, and when I read this lady's article.  I am a writer.  Not a known writer.  Not the best writer.  But I enjoy writing and I just process life better when I'm writing.  But when I set out to write something, especially publicly, I sometimes step in the quicksand of self-analyzing and get stuck there.  And then I don&#…

An Unlikely 23 Years

Wedding Day- Sept.4, 1993
Connor's birthday- April 1, 2003
During our first separation and pregnancy with Ryland- November 2004
Seeking a new start in Arizona all together- October 2005
 Second separation March 2010
Still together on a desert trail- Spring 2015
Today has been a tough day, emotionally.

Twenty three years ago today I made a vow before God and about 100 family and friends to take James as my husband, to have and to hold from that day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and health, till death do us part.

Those are some serious promises.  Better, worse, richer and poorer, sickness and health have all been part of these 23 years.  Honestly, most of it has been hard.  We weren't a very likely match at 19 and 21.  He from the big city, me from a small town.  His dad a pharmacist, mine a log truck driver.  We met in a child development class, taking pre-reqs for nursing.  He hated it.  I loved it.  He had long hair and torn jeans and l…