2021 Advent Devotions

John 1:1-18 | December 5, 2021

The True Light
by Raj Chatterjea

Being invited to write a devotional is a gift! What a perfect way to prepare for Advent (and my new Deaconship)! Thank you.

When asked to select a scripture reading from the suggested list, I closed my eyes and picked one from about the middle of the list! I often do this because I believe ALL of scripture is worthy of reflection, has a habit of working its wonder into one’s faith journey and, not surprisingly, often answers the big questions of the moment.

How do I prepare for Advent during a pandemic and how do I prepare for my new Deaconship in a post-pandemic world? I love it that John talks about LIGHT in the second paragraph, “… the true LIGHT which enlightens everyone, was coming into this world…” (John 1:9). I also love that John talks about WORD and FLESH in the last paragraph, “…and the WORD became FLESH and lived among us…” (John 1:14).

As we prepare to celebrate the coming of Christ, the pandemic darkness is an opportunity. An opportunity for us to be true Christians by actually living a Christian life in the FLESH (i.e., one of action) and not just in WORDS and, as a result, LIGHTING up our community.

Perhaps the post-pandemic world is also the right time to begin my Deaconship? After all, such a world needs more, rather than less, church.

I am also reminded that my favorite theologian, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, loved Advent and often preached sermons of waiting and hope, as a metaphor for the entire Christian life. During the Advent of 1942, a few years before he was executed for his opposition to Hitler, he wrote to his students, “…the joy of God goes through the poverty of the manger and the agony of the cross; that is why it is invincible, irrefutable…” We should all strive to live in the poverty of our OWN mangers and feel the agony of our OWN crosses, if we are to live a truly Christian life.

And again in 1945, the year he was executed, while comforting fellow prisoners, he wrote that Advent reminds us, “…the celebration of Advent is possible only to those troubled in soul, who know themselves to be poor and imperfect and who look forward to something greater to come.”

We should all be mindful that humility comes BEFORE we embark on a Christian life because only then can we authentically celebrate the coming of Christ.