By Bob Bunn
Scripture Reading: Exodus 33:12-23, Exodus 34:5-9, Exodus 34:29-35, Daniel 12:3, Matthew 17:1-7, 2 Corinthians 3:7-18
Section 1: The Light of the World
While the temperatures may have cooled weeks ago, the technical start of winter is still several days away. It’s called the winter solstice, and it represents the astronomical beginning of winter for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere. It’s also the shortest day of the year in terms of sunlight.
Since I’m more of a summer person, the winter solstice really isn’t my favorite day of the year. I like warmth, and I like daylight—two things in short supply on this particular calendar square. But a few years ago, I realized something about the winter solstice that I’d never considered before, and it was a real game-changer for me. While the Solstice is undeniably the start of winter, it’s also our first step toward spring. Plus, it’s not just the shortest day of the year. It’s a reminder that our hours of daylight will progressively increase over the next several months.
I don’t think it’s an accident that the winter solstice arrives during Advent. Soon after we pass through the darkest day of the year, we celebrate the Light of the World. Just when we feel most overwhelmed by physical darkness, we remember that God offers a glory that is unrivaled by anything earth has to offer. That’s pretty cool!
Of course, the apostle Paul probably didn’t know much about the Winter Solstice when he wrote his letter to the Corinthians. But he did understand the light that Jesus brought into the world, the glory that He shares with everyone who accepts His offer of salvation.
As an Old Testament scholar, Paul reminded his readers about another glory, one that faded over time (2Corinthians 3:7). After Moses came down from the mountain at Sinai, his face reflected God’s glory. After all, he had spent forty days in close contact with the Father. It’s no surprise that some of that glory would be reflected.
But, as Moses discovered and Paul emphasized, the glory was temporary. It faded after a while. Like the tablets of law that came down from the mountain, they were a representation of God’s glory, but they paled in comparison to His ultimate image-bearer, God the Son, Jesus Christ. When the Savior came onto the scene, nothing was ever the same again.
When Paul wrote about looking at mirrors, he was talking less about seeing a reflection than about being a reflection. He was emphasizing our call to reflect Jesus’s glory to the world around us (v.18). We are mirrors that reveal Him to the world. That’s an incredible privilege and responsibility.
So, how do we reflect Jesus well? By being transformed into His image, by becoming more like Him in how we think, talk, and act. Like the winter solstice, our light should get stronger each and every day. God revealed His glory through Christ during His time on earth. Now, He puts His glory on display through us as we live as His hands and feet.
Written by Bob Bunn