27th Annual Christmas Quiet

Did you miss the live-streamed event? Or would you like to watch it again? View the video of December 8, 2020, Christmas Quiet here. Join in an evening of quiet Advent anticipation, reflection, and celebration with Christos community members and guests from Chicago, Fargo, the Twin Cities and around the globe.

This video includes the 15-minute prelude with contemplative music and video. You may wish to use it for your own time of contemplation or scroll ahead to the beginning of the program (at about the 15-minute mark). The actual program is about one hour in length. Feel free to download the Christmas Quiet Readings or scroll down to read them online for your own meditation. We hope it will enhance your experience of Advent waiting and reflection.

Christos would like to thank Dan Rippl of RippleCreative for the donation of his time and expertise in the production of this video. ripplcreative.com.

Christos Christmas Quiet 2020: “A Light Shines in the Darkness” Scriptures & Quotations

Welcome and Introduction

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. (John 1:5)

Part 1: Darkness
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. (Genesis 1:1-2)

We hope for light, but see darkness. We hope for bright light, but we walk in the dark.
(Isaiah 59:9b)

Even though I am in darkness, the Lord will be my light. (Micah 7:8)

Who among you fears the Lord and obeys the voice of His Servant, yet walks in darkness and has no light? Let him trust in the name of the Lord and have faith in his God. (Isaiah 50:10)

For even the darkness is not dark to You [, Lord]. And the night is as bright as the day. Darkness and light are the same to You. (Psalms 139:12)

The people who walk in darkness will see a great light. The light will shine on those living in the land of dark shadows. (Isaiah 9:2)

I absorbed the loss into my life, like soil receives decaying matter, until it became a part of who I am. Sorrow took up permanent residence in my soul and enlarged it. A willingness to face the loss and to enter into the darkness is the first step we must take. If there is meaning in life at all, then there must be a meaning in suffering. Tragedy can increase the soul’s capacity for darkness and light, for pleasure as well as for pain, for hope as well as for dejection. In the valley of suffering, despair and bitterness can be brewed. But there also character is made. The valley of suffering is the vale of soul-making. ~ Gerald L. Sittser, A Grace Disguised

“Waiting … is to watch a gathering darkness until all light is swallowed up completely without the power to interfere or bring a halt. Then to continue one’s journey in the darkness with one’s footsteps guided by the illumination of remembered radiance is to know courage of a peculiar kind—the courage to demand that light continue to be light even in the surrounding darkness. To walk in the light while darkness invades, envelops, and surrounds is to wait on the Lord. This is to know the renewal of strength. This is to walk and faint not.” ~Howard Thurman, The Inward Journey

Go slowly
Consent to it
But don’t wallow in it
Know it as a place of germination
And growth
Remember the light
Take an outstretched hand if you find one
Exercise unused senses
Find the path by walking it
Practice trust
Watch for dawn
~ Marilyn Chandler McEntyre, Weavings

In a dark time, the eye begins to see.
~Theodore Roethke

Beloved, take us down deep to the holy darkness of Love’s roots. Let us become one with the One we love. Draw us into Your depths of this advent. Teach us the art of waiting with patience that we may grow strong, loving, and wise.
~Adaptation of Macrina Wiederkehr’s “O Love Divine and Mysterious”

He who is infinite light is so tremendous in his evidence that our minds only see Him as darkness… (The Light shines in darkness and the darkness has not understood it.) If nothing that can be seen can either be God or represent Him to us as He is, then to find God we must pass beyond everything that can be seen and enter into darkness. Since nothing that can be heard is God, to find Him we must enter in silence.
~Thomas Merton, New Seeds of Contemplation

“People who have come to know the joy of God do not deny the darkness, but they choose not to live in it. They claim that the light that shines in the darkness can be trusted more than the darkness itself and that a little bit of light can dispel a lot of darkness. They point each other to flashes of light here and there, and remind each other that they reveal the hidden but real presence of God.”
~Henri J.M. Nouwen, Return of the Prodigal Son

The people who walk in darkness will see a great light. The light will shine on those living in the land of dark shadows. (Isaiah 9:2)

Song: “Shine On Us” by Michael W. Smith

Part 2: The Light Has Come!

Then God said, “Let there be light,” and light flashed into being. (Genesis 1:3)

All life came from You. In Your light we see light. (Psalms 36:9)

He is as bright as the sun. He has light shining from His hand, where His power is hidden. (Habakkuk 3:4)

You make my lamp bright. The Lord my God lights my darkness. (Psalms 18:28)

And he brings to light what is hidden. (Job 28:11)

Let the light of Your face shine on us, O Lord. (Psalms 4:6b)

You who sit on Your throne above the angels, let Your light shine! (Psalms 80:1b)

How happy are the people who know the sound of joy! They walk in the light of Your face, O Lord. (Psalms 89:15)

The Lord is my light and the One Who saves me. Whom should I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life. Of whom should I be afraid? (Psalms 27:1)

Send out Your light and Your truth. Let them lead me. Let them bring me to Your holy hill and to the places where You live. (Psalms 43:3)

The Lord is God. He has given us light. (Psalms 118:27)

I looked at them with joy when they were not sure of themselves, and the light of my face gave them comfort. (Job 29:4)

I will lead the blind by a way that they do not know. I will lead them in paths they do not know. I will turn darkness into light in front of them. And I will make the bad places smooth. These are the things I will do and I will not leave them.” (Isaiah 42:16)

No more will the sun be your light during the day, and the moon during the night. But the Lord will be your light forever and your God will be your shining-greatness. Your sun will set no more, and your moon will not become less. For the Lord will be your light forever and ever, and the days of your sorrow will end. (Isaiah 60:19-20)

Light of lights! All gloom dispelling,
Thou didst come to make thy dwelling
Here within our world of sight.
Lord, in pity and in power,
Thou didst in our darkest hour
Rend the clouds and show thy light.
~Thomas Aquinas, excerpt from “The Divine Dawning”

“Truly, the people who sat in darkness saw a great light. Light did shine on those in the land who were near death.” (Matthew 4:16)

“Life began by Him. His Life was the Light for men. The Light shines in the darkness. The darkness has never been able to put out the Light.” (John 1:4-5)

Jesus said, “I am the Light of the world. Anyone who follows Me will not walk in darkness. He will have the Light of Life.” (John 8:12)

“I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.” (John 12:46)

“Let us walk in the Light!” (Isaiah 2:5)

The Quaker Thomas Kelly asserts that, “The basic response of the soul to the Light is internal adoration and joy, thanksgiving and worship, self-surrender and listening. The secret places of the heart cease to be our noisy workshop. They become a holy sanctuary of adoration and of self-oblation, where we are kept in perfect peace, if our minds be stayed on [God] who has found us in the inward springs of our life.”

Then open your heart to Him.
And let yourself receive the one
Who is opening to you so deeply.
For if we genuinely love Him,
We wake up inside Christ’s body
Where all our body, all over,
Every most hidden part of it,
Is realized in joy as Him,
And He makes us utterly real.
And everything that is hurt, everything
That seemed to us dark, harsh, shameful,
Maimed, ugly, irreparably damaged
Is in Him transformed.
And in Him, recognized as whole, as lovely,
And radiant in His light,
We awaken as the Beloved
In every last part of our body.
-Saint Symeon the New Theologian, “Hymn 15”

Song: “Oh Light” by Gungor featuring All Sons & Daughters

Part 3: Shine Forth the Light

“Arise, shine, for your light has come,
and the glory of the Lord rises upon you.
2 See, darkness covers the earth
and thick darkness is over the peoples,
but the Lord rises upon you
and his glory appears over you.
3 Nations will come to your light,
and kings to the brightness of your dawn. (Isaiah 60:1-3)

[John] came to tell what he knew about the Light so that all [people] might believe through him. (John 1:7)

This true Light, coming into the world, gives light to every [one]. (John 1:9)

Your problem is, you don’t know who you are. Let me tell you who you are. You are a ray of God’s own light. You say you seek God, but a ray of light doesn’t seek the sun; it’s coming from the sun. You are a branch on the vine of God. A branch doesn’t seek the vine; it’s already part of the vine. A wave doesn’t look for the ocean; it’s already full of ocean.
~Martin Laird, Into the Silent Land

The birth of Christ in our souls is for a purpose beyond ourselves: it is because his manifestation in the world must be through us. Every Christian is, as it were, part of the dust-laden air which shall radiate the glowing epiphany of God, catch and reflect his golden Light.
~Evelyn Underhill, Light of Christ

He will make your innocence radiate like the dawn, and the justice of your cause will shine like the noonday sun. (Psalms 37:6)

The way of those who are right is like the early morning light. It shines brighter and brighter until the perfect day. (Proverb 4:18)

“I am the Lord. I have called you to be right and good. I will hold you by the hand and watch over you. And I will give you as an agreement to the people, as a light to the nations.
(Isaiah 42:6)

Love intentionally, extravagantly, unconditionally. The broken world waits in darkness for the light that is you. ~ L.R. Knost

Then your light will break out like the early morning, and you will soon be healed. Your right and good works will go before you. And the shining-greatness of the Lord will keep watch behind you. (Isaiah 58:8)

And if you give what you have to the hungry, and fill the needs of those who suffer, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your darkness will be like the brightest time of day. (Isaiah 58:10)

Let your light shine in front of men. Then they will see the good things you do and will honor your Father Who is in heaven. (Matthew 5:16)

Because the heart of our God is full of loving-kindness for us, a light from heaven will shine on us. (Luke 1:78)

“Be ready and dressed. Have your lights burning. (Luke 12:35)

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. (1 Peter 2:9)

For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ. (2 Corinthians 4:6)

Lord Jesus, assuage our blindness
and activate our hearts,
so that we may find your presence
hidden in ourselves.
May we unveil the mystery of Christ-with-us
and work toward the true restoration
of the whole world in your image.
Let your light shine in our hearts
so that we may always know
the truth of your love. Amen.
~Thomas Merton

Around me the trees stir in their leaves
and call out, “Stay awhile.”
The light flows from their branches.
And they call again, “It’s simple,” they say,
“and you, too, have come
into the world to do this, to go easy, to be filled
with light, and to shine.”
~Mary Oliver, excerpt from “When I Am Among the Trees”

O Morning Song of Love, O you in whom we live and move and have our being!
We have been asleep too long. Heal the unseeing part of our lives. Lead us to our awakening places. Awaken us to the new light. Open the doors of our hearts, the windows of our souls, the walls of our minds. Awaken us to hope. Awaken us to joy. Awaken us to love. Awaken us to new insights. Make our hearts ready to receive the brightness of your presence. To you we give praise.
~Macrina Wiederkehr, Seven Sacred Pauses

Song: Silent Night by Joseph Mohr and Franz Gruber

Closing Blessing

The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace. (Numbers 6:24-26)

Go forth! May you shine like stars! (Philippians 2:15-16a)