Psalm 80:3 – Restore us, O God; make your face shine upon us, that we may be saved. (NIV)
Like many of the psalms, Psalm 80 is a song. In fact, in this case, there is even specific direction given as to which tune it should be sung to. The chorus of Psalm 80 asks God to restore His people and for God's face to shine on us.
Christmas brings to mind many images of light shining in the darkness of December. Some people string bright lights from the eaves of their houses; others wrap them around Christmas trees.
I think that one of the most amazing experiences of light — in particular, the spreading of light — happens at the candlelight Christmas Eve service held in my church each year. Our sanctuary holds at least 600 people, and on Christmas Eve, it is full to capacity. As the flame is passed from the end of the pews across from candle to candle, a place that has been dark is filled with light. As each one with a lit candle turns and lights the candle of the next person, the light shines on the individual's face. It is as if God's face is shining through the light of the candle.
I have experienced the candlelight service only from the choir pews. It is a wondrous sight to see the one original light multiply and travel from the centre aisle all the way out and to the back corners of the sanctuary. That light is not a blinding, bright light, but one full of warmth, love, and peace. As the light in the sanctuary is restored through the lighting of candles, so too are we restored in God's love through His greatest gift: the gift of His Son, Jesus.
Prayer: Gracious and loving God, as we prepare ourselves for Christmas, we thank You that during this dark time of year, Your light still shines through us and touches the lives of those around us. Help us to take that light into the dark corners of our communities and the greater world, and to share the warmth, love, and peace of that light with those who need it most. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.