On the first day of each week of Advent, Seeing the Word will post an illumination paired with an audio reading of the associated Scripture passage. The subsequent days will feature one of the six movements of visio divina: Listening, Meditating, Seeing, Praying, Contemplating, and Becoming Christ-like.
WEEK FOUR•DAY six
The Birth of Christ
I feel a very real sense of “coming down” and of “coming into.” As I contemplate the gold shaft piercing through the dark night and landing on the gritty earth, I long for that kind of direct connection with the divine—pure, strong and unhindered. I am reminded that the “coming down” of the shaft is not dependent on anything I do. I had nothing to do with creating it or summoning it. I cannot work my way up to it, and I find peace when I realize I don’t have to. God has come to me. All the faces of the people in the illumination are pointed downward, not upward. To find God, I look down into my heart, not up to some faraway heaven. He resides here, now, with us, within us, between us, and among us. Our faces reflect his glory, just as those who behold him in the illumination reflect the warm glow of the manger.
The darkness of night that undoubtedly surrounded the manger also surrounds us, but the light of God has come into the world. The world cannot overcome this light nor does the world understand this light. What an amazing gift to be invited to live in the light of Christ!
Laurie E. Neill is a pastor at First Lutheran Church in Fargo, ND. She graduated from Luther Seminary in St. Paul, MN in 2012. Prior to ordination, she worked as a lay pastor at The Lutheran Church of Christ the King in Moorhead, MN. She became “hooked” on The Saint John’s Bible during the Praying with Imagination retreat this past summer.