Matthew 5:13-16: NRSV
13 “You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything, but is thrown out and trampled under foot.14 “You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hid. 15 No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.
13 You, beloved, are the salt of the earth. But if salt becomes bland and loses its saltiness, can anything make it salty again? No. It is useless. It is tossed out, thrown away, or trampled.14 And you, beloved, are the light of the world. A city built on a hilltop cannot be hidden. 15 Similarly it would be silly to light a lamp and then hide it under a bowl. When someone lights a lamp, she puts it on a table or a desk or a chair, and the light illumines the entire house. 16 You are like that illuminating light. Let your light shine everywhere you go, that you may illumine creation, so men and women everywhere may see your good actions, may see creation at its fullest, may see your devotion to Me, and may turn and praise your Father in heaven because of it.
Getting to Zero! That is the theme that will resonate throughout this day as we remember the human cost on this World AIDS Day. Getting to zero has a number of meanings but at the heart is about living in a world that is free from this deadly disease.
Does that sound like an unusual way to begin an Advent devotion about the birth of Jesus? When we consider the reading from the Gospel of Matthew and realize what can happen if we (the salt of the earth) began to let our light shine into the world. Not just a dim flicker, but a bright light that shines into the darkest corners of the world. If we become that light people will be transformed and God will be glorified in heaven.
It is hard to put adult words into the mouth of an infant. But that is exactly what happens when we look under the swaddling clothes of the newborn Christ Child. We suddenly realize that the child is speaking words of wisdom into our lives. So we stand by the side of the harsh crib and listen. In his eyes we see the reflection of his heart as he invites us to let our good works bring glory to God.
Our task is clear. We are invited to come to Bethlehem so we can become open to his spirit. We are invited to stand with Mary and Joseph as we find instructions that reflect his heart beat as it syncs with the rhythm of our breath. In that moment, we begin to realize that we are all called to be his light shining into the world.
Where do you need to shine today? Will you do it?