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Advent Devotional December 22: The Light of the World is Jesus

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and peace on earth, good will toward men.”  Luke 2:13-14 

By Pat Hardesty

Handel’s Messiah really brings this scripture to life for me when the soprano soloist very dramatically introduces the full chorus singing “Glory to God!”

Music has always been the centerpiece of Christmas for me. I grew up in a very small town and a tiny church. Handel’s Messiah was not in the repertoire, but we did have a Christmas program -- not a “pageant” but a “program.” We acted out the Christmas story every year, and I never remember being anything other than a shepherd. Our program included the most familiar Christmas carols in the hymnal. Through the years, I have been drawn to Christmas songs that include shepherds seeing the star, being startled by the angels, and being transformed by the Light.

In one of my early years singing in the South Main Sanctuary Choir, Thad Roberts selected a collection of Alfred Burt Carols for our annual Christmas choral concert. A favorite was “The Star Carol” with lyrics by Wihla Hutson: Long years ago, on a deep winter night. High in the heavens, a star shone bright. While in the manger, a wee baby lay. Sweetly asleep, on a bed of hay.

Another favorite is the spiritual “Rise Up Shepherd and Follow”: There's a star in the East on Christmas morn, Rise up shepherd and follow. It will lead to the place where the Savior's born, Rise up shepherd and follow. Follow the star of Bethlehem. Rise up shepherd and follow.

Not usually associated with Christmas is this familiar hymn: The whole world was lost in the darkness of sin, the Light of the world is Jesus! Like sunshine at noonday, His glory shone in. The Light of the world is Jesus!

O Lord, as we follow the star of Bethlehem this year, help us bring the light of Christ into all the darkness of life, spreading hope for a better world, a world that dares to hope for the future that you promise. Amen.

Pat Hardesty joined South Main in 1977 and is a longtime member of the Sanctuary Choir and One Accord. He and his wife, Glenda Fontenot, travel the country as groupies for their nieces and nephews.


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