“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.” — John 1:5 (NRSV)

This scripture from the Gospel of John describes how the light of Christ shone into a darkened world.

Even though that world was so threatened by the profound nature of Christ’s truth that the powers of its time would crucify him, Christ’s message of love and compassion continues to shine today and forevermore.

This scripture has encouraged me to find the light during the Advent and Christmas season, especially amid the challenges that 2020 brought. I am also encouraged that this light continues to shine through the words and deeds of so many wonderful people in our community.

I saw this hopeful light at its brightest during the Open Door’s Christmas Eve celebration.

Staff, volunteers, and partner organizations, including Haywood Community College, Long’s Chapel and St. John’s Catholic Church bound together to provide a delicious hot meal, warm coats and gift bags to those in our community who have struggled most during the pandemic.

Smiles graced the faces of those serving and being served on that Christmas Eve.

The entire experience was a thin moment where I felt that I was experiencing the Kingdom of God and a reality where the hungry are fed, the cold are clothed and the brokenhearted are loved.

It is in this spirit that I hope to see even more of this goodwill shining light into our world in the coming year. This light is within us and the world is waiting. Let us embody exactly what we hope to come to fruition for ourselves and for our shared community in 2021.

Tom Henderson Owens is the executive pastor of ministries at Long’s Chapel United Methodist Church in Clyde.

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