Note: For the four weeks of Advent, this blog will highlight one scripture from the Revised Common Lectionary Year C for each week. A discipline for the week will be suggested. It is in intended the discipline will fit into your daily life and utilize resources you already have on hand. I look forward to sharing this journey with you.

My favorite part of Advent is the growing light. As the Advent wreath moves from one to four lighted candles, I relish how that added light shines brightly at our dinner table. As neighbors hang Christmas lights, I enjoy watching a dark street become brightly illuminated. And I find comfort in hearing the click of the timer on our Christmas tree because a room that is ordinary becomes festooned with light in a single click. I rejoice in the light of Advent.

Two of the scripture passages, Luke 1:39-45 and 46b-55, from this week feature women who rejoiced. Elizabeth cried out when she saw the pregnant Mary. As someone who had experienced the miracle of pregnancy, she was open to Mary’s miraculous claim of carrying the Christ child. And Mary, having every reason to believe her future was dark, claimed the light by rejoicing in being chosen by God. Rather than wallowing in the darkness of “I have wanted a child my whole life and now I’ll be too old to enjoy him” or “I was looking forward to being a bride and newlywed and now I will be a mother much sooner that I had planned,” Elizabeth and Mary chose to embrace the growing light of new life. They chose to rejoice.

In this fourth week of Advent that is shortened to just two days, I want to remember to rejoice on Wednesday, after the Christ candle is lighted on Christmas day. Even though the tree will look less festive with the gifts removed and some of the neighbors will stop lighting their Christmas lights, I want to live in a place where the light expands and grows. The writer of John said, “The light shines in the darkness and the darkness cannot overcome it.” (John 1:5)  As I embrace the coming of the Christ child, I want to remember that he brought light into the world in the form of hope and that hope cannot be overcome by the darkness.

As the days unfold into a new year, let us light a candle each day to remember the brightness of hope. Locate either a fancy Christmas candle you never use or the stub of candle kept in the junk drawer. Choose a time that works best for you and light the candle while you pray, share your family meal, or hover over the first cup of coffee before the house guests come down for breakfast.

Elizabeth and Mary rejoiced in the light when they could have complained in the darkness. Let us rejoice that light has come into the world.

Tammy Abee Blom is an ordained Baptist minister, regular contributor to BWIM’s blog, mother of two amazing daughters, teacher for children’s Sunday School, and lives in Columbia, South Carolina.