The Light of the World Born In A Desert

“For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.” 2 Corinthians 4:6

Every Christmas season, light is a theme that my heart often rests on as I am surrounded by the string of LED lights on the tree, candles, or the fluorescent sparkling Santa on top of my neighbor’s roof. However, when I reflect more deeply, my heart is drawn towards the lights as I begin to anticipate the birth of Jesus, the Light of the World. This year for advent, I’ve been going through a series called “Jesus Calling: Enjoy Peace in His Presence” that outlines small devotionals every day leading up to Christmas. I would love to share a section of one of the readings that painted a beautiful picture of the miracle of Jesus’s incarnation.

Jesus Calling: Enjoy Peace in His Presence

“As you wait attentively in My Presence, the light of the knowledge of My Glory shines upon you. This radiant knowledge transcends all understanding. It transforms every fiber of your being: renewing your mind, cleansing your heart, invigorating your body. Open yourself fully to My Presence; be awed by My glorious Being. 

Try to imagine what I gave up when I came into your world as a baby. I set aside My Glory so that I could identify with mankind. I accepted the limitations of infancy under the most appalling conditions – a filthy stable. There was nothing glorious about that setting, though angels lit up the sky proclaiming, “Glory!” to awestruck shepherds.

When you sit quietly with Me, the process I went through is reversed in your experience. As you identify with Me, heaven’s vistas open up before you – granting you glimpses of My Glory. I became poor so that you might become rich. Sing hallelujahs to my holy Name!” 

Earlier this fall, I had the opportunity to visit Natoot Farm, Kenya, which has become an oasis in the middle of a desert.

Northwestern Kenya, where the farm is located, is known for being arid, dry, and very hot – the people living in this sandy expanse are the Turkana. As the sun beats down on the desert, pastoralist communities often gather below the stars at nightfall. The ladies from the farm would laugh underneath the papaya trees and hold their babies as they shared stories from their day.

One of the nights, I found myself holding a tiny baby boy as his mother and her friends asked me questions about my life. We would stumble over words as we tried to speak each other’s language and then proceed to laugh as we fell short of understanding what the other was saying. These moments were sacred, and this space was filled with a deep presence of hospitality and friendship.

Today, as I reflect on the anticipation of our savior’s birth, I can’t help but remember the sacredness of sitting in the desert, holding a small child underneath the light of the stars and moon. 

“Who being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.” Philippians 2:6-7

Abi Conway
Abi Conway