Thoughts from Pastor Don | Let Us Light Candles

Dear “Virtual” Southminster Members,

I want to wish each of you a Happy Thanksgiving in a year that is like no other. As you observe social distancing guidelines and carve up the turkey or ham with your small circle of family and friends, may you feel comfort in knowing that the Southminster community is with you in Spirit. May each of us be grateful for the Great Spirit that unites, holds and keeps us in her loving arms.

On Sunday, we will begin the Advent season in a world that has been “shrouded in the darkness of racial and political unrest and the cloud of pandemic uncertainties is still hovering low.” Our Advent spiritual theme and daily devotional was written by Donna Frischknecht, editor of Presbyterians Today magazine: “Let Us Light Candles: Matthew 25 and the work of Advent”. This theme draws from the inspiring words in Howard Thurman’s poem “I Will Light Candles This Christmas”: 

I will light candles this Christmas, 
Candles of joy despite all the sadness, 
Candles of hope where despair keeps watch, 
Candles of courage for fears ever present, 
Candles of peace for tempest-tossed days, 
Candles of grace to ease heavy burdens,
Candles of love to inspire all my living, 
Candles that will burn all year long.

In worship and in daily devotionals, we will be exploring the “light” that came into the world as seen in Thurman’s writings. I encourage you and your family to download a copy of the devotional and read through it on a daily basis. Daily devotions will include a weekly stanza and insights from Thurman’s poem and other writings, followed by a reading from Scripture, a short meditation and a closing prayer. 

Can you commit to embarking on this transformation journey with Thurman and us? In a world of so many unknowns – so much fear and dismay – a world filled with isolation and political turmoil – there is a light coming to us, one promised by God. It is a light that John’s Gospel says “shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it” (John 1:5).

You can download a copy of the devotional for each week of Advent (first week begins Sunday, Nov. 29) here. This link will be available on the Southminster’s Advent webpage. If anyone would like a hard copy of the devotional, please email Lisa and make arrangements to pick one up at the church.

Let us begin this Advent and Christmas season lighting those candles Thurman envisioned — candles of joy, hope, courage, peace, grace and love.

Pastor Don