Supernova Savior: Light that Cannot be Contained

Most of you already know that one of my favorite Christmas passages comes from Zechariah’s song of praise.

“(All this is) because of the tender mercy of our God,
    by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven
 to shine on those living in darkness
    and in the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the path of peace.”

Luke 1:78-79

I love this idea – this image – of Jesus breaking into the world as light, bringing truth, illumination, direction, power, and hope – saturating the Earth with promise.

Life and life to all…

With all that in mind, this page – open in an illuminated text – was on display at Hudson Memorial Presbyterian Church, resting on the communion table both during Sunday morning’s worship service and on Christmas Eve.

It is a strong, beautiful rendering of the artist’s interpretation of the text, bursting out in creative light from the Gospel of Luke.

– illuminated manuscript from Luke 1

This light, pastor Mac Shaffer pointed out, is not coming down from heaven so much as originating in and emanating out from Jesus. The powerful beam goes both ways – “up” from the manger and also “down” too.

I have the words up and down in quotations because not only is the Earth a sphere, but the Kingdom of God is not subject to the constraints of either physics or our limited ability to conceptualize!

This also plays on one of my favorite propositions, my contention that salvation is not so much about the life to come as it is about participating in God’s work now (and then later), joining in with God’s initiatives of grace, mercy, love, peace, justice, reconciliation, hope, promise, kindness, generosity – and so much more.

The Christ light is within us, like God’s love, spilling over and out. The infant Jesus in this painting is so full with light that the truth of it cannot help but break out.

– NC writer Derek Maul

And this is our invitation, that we invite the Christ-light into our own experience and then gift light and life into this broken world.

Happy 3rd Day of Christmas! “Light and life to all he brings, risen with healing in his wings…”



  1. Derek, one of the cool things about the St.John’s Bible that I didn’t mention in my sermon is that wherever gold leaf is used in an illumination, it represents God’s presence. Glad you took something away from the image! It’s so well done. With Care, Mac

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s