12/29 Readings: Beauty and Light

1 Christmas

Isa. 61:10-62:3
Ps. 147 [Ps. 147:13-21]
Gal. 3:23-25, 4:4-7
John 1:1-18

How can this be? How can a human life be the home of God? “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the most high will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be holy, he will be called the Son of God” (Luke1:35). The mystery of Mary and the mystery of her Son whom she accepts in absolute faith and bears for the world reverberate in the life of the whole church and world. We are overshadowed by the Spirit of God. We are swaddled in bands of affection that fall from the heights of heaven. We are clothed in God.

Speaking to the people of God exiled in Babylon, the Prophet Isaiah gives hope in words about clothing and beauty and a burning torch. God is near and shining. “I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my whole being shall exult in my God; for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation, he has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with a garland, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels” (Isa. 61:10). For whose good pleasure do we wear such beauty? “You shall be a crown of beauty in the hand of the Lord, and a royal diadem in the hand of your God” (Isa. 62:3). God delights in what God has done. Our lives shine like the dawn and our salvation like a burning torch. (Isa. 62:1)

We have put on the Lord Jesus, and we are bearers of his light and beauty in the world. We are not the one true light, but are witnesses to the light. Our lives are not impeccably beautiful, but we are, nonetheless, by the love and mercy of God, bearers of divine beauty in the world. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word [Jesus] was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. … The true light that enlightens everyone, was coming into the world” (John 1:1-2,9).

Just as we are bold to say “Our Father” by the Spirit of the Son in our hearts, we may boldly bear light in the world, not to our own glory, but to the glory of God. “You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hid. No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven” (Matt. 5:14-16).

God has given the light of his Son. God has given his Son as the beautiful garments and adornments we put on. We are a burning torch; we are vested with a robe, a garland, jewels, a crown, a diadem. So, in the light and beauty of God, we go forth to do all such good works as we have been prepared to walk in. We build and gather and heal. We bind up and lift up. We give thanks and sing. (Ps. 147)

May I help you with your unbelief? May I battle the voice of doubt well known to you and me? As if singing for God, these words, especially as interpreted by Ray Charles and Joe Cocker, tell the truth we need to hear: “You are so beautiful to me. Can’t you see?”

Look It Up: Isa. 61:10

Think About It: See yourself as you are in Christ.


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