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"Light shines in the darkness"

“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness doesn’t extinguish the light” (v. 5).

The GPS Guide for today offers great questions in connection with this verse: “When have you felt that darkness was trying to put out God’s light in your life? What spiritual choices help keep you close to God, so that God’s light keeps shining in you?”

In my life, I notice that it’s not always the major life challenges that threaten to put out God’s light. I easily lose touch with that light when I live at a mind-numbing pace, moving from one thing to the next in a rush of productivity. Often, I’m thinking ahead to what’s next and not aware of the moment I’m in.

I can go through the day without ever stopping to see—really see—the people I encounter, to recognize that each one is a child of God, made in God’s image. My husband, my co-worker, the person at the drive-through window, someone in front of me in line at the store—all of them are signs of God’s love for the whole world.

Yet, in my multi-tasking, I read emails or scan social media on my phone instead of looking into each face with wonder and awe at God’s mighty handiwork. I miss out on God’s light entering my life when I miss out on paying attention to God’s children all around me.

Each of us can become lost in a busy schedule, distracted by screens and tasks. We end up unaware of the moment we are in, and its fullness with God’s own life blessing us right here, right now.

So, take a moment to pause, breathe deeply, and pay attention on purpose to the people around you today, signs of God’s love and light. Mindfulness can help us “make spiritual choices that keep us close to God, so that light keeps shining in us.”

Dr. Amy Oden

Dr. Amy Oden is Professor of Early Church History and Spirituality at Saint Paul School of Theology at OCU. Teaching is her calling, and she looks forward to every day with students. Her latest book (Right Here, Right Now: The Practice of Christian Mindfulness, Abingdon Press, 2017) traces ancient mindfulness practice for Christians today.

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