Forest Lake Talks

12/19/23 Devotional from Ed

December 19, 2023

Text: John 1:5

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overtake it.


A childhood sports hero of mine, Eric Montross, died on Sunday after a nine-month battle with cancer. He was one of the truly good guys in sports, something I noticed even as a child while watching him dominate college basketball and never back down against the Blue Devils. I loved watching him play and wished I had just 0.0001 percent of his basketball gifts.

It was later in life that I learned about his other gifts. He began working for the University of North Carolina, an institution he dearly loved, after a lengthy NBA career, but what caught my eye was the devotion and love he had for the UNC children's hospital. He and his wife began a Father's Day basketball camp in 1995 to benefit the UNC children's hospital system, a camp that was founded as a result of the close relationship he developed with a young child who battled cancer while Eric was a player at UNC. This camp has thrived and grown for 28 years, having raised close to $2 million dollars for the hospital, but in the cruelest twist of ironies, it was Eric who began fighting cancer in 2023.

When I first read he was battling cancer, it one of the many times when I remembered life is simply unfair and hard. And the news from Sunday, the news that a 52 year-old father who raised money to fight cancer had died from it, reiterated it.

While thinking about this sad story yesterday and prepping for John 1:5 Day at FLPC, I began to form a few thoughts.

When we read these words from John's gospel, please note the tense in the first sentence: "The light shinein the darkness." It's in the present tense, a point that I find comforting. Even in the darkness, there is still light.

How does this translate to loss? Many of us will look across the table at Christmas and see an empty chair (maybe more). If this is difficult, seemingly impossible, I offer something that will hopefully help: Try remembering the light that this particular person brought to the world. Try remembering their impact on your world and your community. And then remember that light has not been extinguished.

After remembering the light from this person, now focus on God's light. Imagine God's light surrounding you, warming you, this Advent. Imagine God's light not being extinguished for you, because it never will.

As we inch closer to December 25, may we continue to lift up those who are reeling from loss this time of year. Please be a presence for any and all who need to feel God's light that continues to shine in the midst of darkness.

Prayer: Holy God, fill us with your Spirit this week. May we feel your warmth and see your light. And may we be a presence for any and all who need to see your light. Amen.


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