Your Light Has Come!
Recently, I have been reflecting on the words in Isaiah 60:1 that state, “Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you” (NIV). It is a text brimming with hope. We can receive these words as a promise: Regardless of the darkness – that is, the challenges that have inhibited movement, sight or understanding – the light of God fills our vision and enlightens our world. God’s own light is what blesses and bathes our lives in goodness and grace.
These words resonate particularly with me as I think on how Christians will be celebrating their most important religious holiday of the year this weekend. For Roman Catholic and Protestant Christians, we are coming to the end of Holy Week, the week before Easter when we mourn the crucifixion of Jesus nearly 2,000 years ago. Orthodox Christians observe Holy Week one week later. On Easter Sunday, Christians celebrate the miracle of the resurrection and think about Jesus as the “Light of the world” who has come to enlighten and save.
Tonight is also the start of the Jewish celebration of Passover. Passover commemorates the liberation of the Jewish nation from slavery in Egypt – the exodus that was blessed by God and led by Moses some 3,500 years ago. The celebration of Passover begins with the lighting of candles, often seen as a symbol for the redemptive power of God.
Additionally, Ramadan, a holy month of fasting, prayer, reflection and community, will continue for Muslims until early May. In the celebrations of the Ramadan, a traditional lantern – the Ramadan Fanous – has become a symbol of light widely associated with the month-long holiday for a variety of reasons including lighting the way to the mosque or celebrations marking the beginning of Ramadan.
Each of these holidays have their own traditions and customs. Collectively they are characterized by heartfelt expressions of gratitude for God’s care, recognition of dependence upon God and milestones in personal renewal – that often include an element of light.
Many of our Adventist HealthCare team members will be observing their faith this weekend. As my family and I celebrate Easter, my prayer will be that God’s greatest blessings will light these days of reflection and faith for you and those you love.