The passage in Matthew for today quotes a part of Isaiah, saying, "The people who dwelled in darkness have seen a great light."
Usually, when we hear "a great light," we tend to think of something like a searchlight stabbing through the darkness, overpowering it with sheer force or a laser which cuts through even hardened steel. I know from experience, however, that people who are dwelling in darkness, whose eyes have grown accustomed to it, would react in panic and pain to sudden, overpowering, illumination. That doesn't seem to be the way of Jesus. He seems more the type to meet people where they were and lead them gently into the light.
So, when we say "great light," I don't think of harsh, sudden, blinding, but of illumination that will constantly fill our lives with a glow that will show us all we need to see.
Here at the table, we see that kind of light, light that overcame the deep darkness of sin and death for us without destroying us in the process.
Let us pray.
God who shines the light into our darkness, we thank you that Jesus came to restore and illuminate. We thank you for his life, which showed us your way and guided us into the light. We thank you for these symbols, the bread and cup, representing that he gave his own life that we might be restored to you.
As we take the bread and cup, fill us anew with your Spirt, that we may carry your light with us as we go into the world.
In the name of Jesus, our Risen Lord, Amen.