Mark turned on the light. It was bright. He closed his eyes for a moment, then slowly opened them, getting them accustomed to the bright light. It’s true, isn’t it? As much as you need the light, there is the challenge of the light.
On this second Sunday of Advent, as we prepare and wait for the Light of the World, even as the light dawns, we must acknowledge the challenge of the light. Paul (then Saul) came face-to-face with it on the road to Damascus and was stopped in his tracks. Paul’s encounter with the light resulted in temporary, transformative blindness. What is this challenge of the light and how will you respond?
The Challenge of the Light and Your Response
The dazzle challenge
When the light comes and you look at it squarely, you’re dazzled. You are forced to make a change of some kind. You may look away or close your eyes, which means that you have to stop or slow down if you’ve been moving. That’s what Mark did. When he closed his eyes, he stopped for a moment. It put a slow-down to his plans, as Paul’s temporary blindness did for him in Acts 9.
Similarly, if you’re are driving when the sun is suddenly in your eyes, it’s disconcerting. You may not be able to pull over but you squint and/or reach for the sunglasses. All these reactions to the light are for your self-preservation. Thus, inasmuch as you are drawn to the light, it is just as easy for you to turn from the light.
Yes. The light will make its presence felt. You will react.
When Jesus Christ, the Light of the World shines on you and you are overcome, how will you respond? Will you slow down and allow the light to envelop you or will you turn away? Will you pause long enough to humbly accept that Jesus has come to make a difference in your life, or will you put on your shades?
The humility challenge
When the light shines in your eyes, you encounter a more powerful force. In that moment, the light is just there. You are the one who has to adjust for the light is not adjusting for you, especially in the case of the sun. That’s what happened to Mark. He received a powerful reminder that he could not control everything. You see, regardless of how powerful you may or may not be, there are some things you cannot control.
In some ways, then, the light forces you to your knees, figuratively, as you encounter a more powerful force. With Paul in Acts 9, he went to his knees literally. He received the invitation to see and hear what he had not previously been seeing and hearing.
When Jesus, the Light of the World shines on you, Jesus’ light will remind you of your limitations. So, as the light gets your attention and you remember your limitations, listen and receive the invitation.
What invitation? The same one Paul received. It is the humility challenge of the light to reexamine who you are and what you are about and see and hear what the Lord is saying..
The change challenge
Think of it. Yes. Mark was blinded by the light. But then, as his eyes got accustomed to the light he took another look at the room he had entered. He saw some things that he had not seen before. The truth is, when Mark had gone into that room before there had been very little light. He just went in, sat for while, looked at something on the television, then left. Now, with the invitation of the light, he faced the challenge of transformation.
Mark saw the dust that had accumulated. He saw the pictures that were askew. Some things were faded. A lot needed to be changed. It was time to get busy.
It is so. The Light of the World reveals who you are; not who you think you are. When you respond to the challenge of the light and deal with the temporariness of the dazzle, then move on to the humility challenge, you are in place to respond to the change challenge. In Acts 9, Paul emptied himself and ultimately was transformed. It’s your turn to look and listen.
What is Jesus Christ showing you about you that needs to change? Are you ready to be transformed? Know that the Lord is with you to guide and strengthen you to make the change.
Yes. When the light comes, it’s advance notice that something is about to happen. The challenge of the light is an invitation to something different. However, you have a choice. This Advent season, how will you respond to the challenge of the light?
(We’re still early in the Advent Season and you still have time to get your copy of the Advent devotional:)