In today’s reflection from the bulletin and the Youth Sermon, we talked about light and darkness, seeing or being blind, belief versus unbelief. The beggar from the Gospel reading, Bartimaeus, had heard about Jesus and His miracles before meeting Him that day. He was also familiar with the Old Testament, the Law and the Prophets. His sense of hearing was heightened since he wasn’t able to use his eyes, and he was both prepared and eager to encounter the Messiah. He says “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me.” What does this sound like, maybe a prayer? If you compare it to something else you’ve heard in our Orthodox faith, what would that be? “Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on .” The longer form of this Jesus Prayer is: “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.”

The more we recite this prayer and pray, the more God hears our praise, thanksgiving and petitions. The more we speak with Him, sharing our needs and struggles, the more he listens and actively blesses us with guidance and His presence. This start of December is a good checkin for the Advent period, remembering that fasting until Christmas will provide us with even greater joy for this Great Feastday. When we fast from certain foods, we make more room for prayer and other activities that draw us closer to Christ. As you all know, we can’t have Christmas without “Christ!” Jesus Christ is the reason for the season, and His birth is what we remember on Christmas Day. This is a very special time when everything changed in human history, even the way we record time!

When Christ, the true Light, the Sun of righteousness entered the world, the dark world was illumined. Do you remember the star that was above the place of Jesus’s birth? How about another time when it was dark and then all of a sudden bright? When we closed our eyes in Church briefly and then opened them, how did that feel? It was harder until the light was restored, even though you could still hear my voice. So, now you can imagine what it was like for the blind man. This blind man, however, could “see” better than most people who Jesus was. His faith was so great, that even in his physically dark world, he already had the light of the Lord with him!