Tonight was very special.
I read some reflections from Eternal Echoes where Sally considers hope in the midst of struggle and the beauty of grace and sanctification when we are feeling in a dark place. I also read some of the birth narrative from Luke and I discussed the mixture of doubt and hope contained in the Christmas story.
Doubt must have arisen as shepherds and magi made their way to a stable in a provincial backwater to look for the Savior of the world. Amidst the doubt and tiredness of the journey was a growing sense of hope.
There were 4 of us upstairs in a pub on a Tuesday night and, as we discussed our doubts and reflected on what hope in God meant for each of us I felt that the church had turned a corner and rather than being my "thing" God had been allowed to come into our midst much like He came into our midst through the baby Jesus as the incarnated God.
After talking for a while I took out some candles and invited people to light a candle to symbolize our light in the darkness. People could pray aloud, meditate, reflect or just relax in the sense of hope amidst the busyness of this season.
As we sat with the flames flickering on the table in the middle of the group I closed my eyes and felt a profound sense of God's presence. I haven't been to church in 9 months except for one unsatisfactory appearance a few weeks ago and tonight I felt a sense of deep joy and gratitude as God came amongst us through His Spirit upstairs in a pub on a Tuesday night in December.
Jesus is truly our light in the darkness.