Called Anew to Follow — the Light in Darkness

by | Dec 3, 2019 | North District Notes, North District Web Page

Shorter days — longer nights — tis the season of reflection and gathering at the hearth of home.

On the Christmas Eve of 1966, when New York TV station WPIX first aired the 17-second loop of 2-hours of crackling logs in a fireplace, it was considered to be a ridiculous idea, a waste of airtime, and of interest to no one. However, so many people tuned in that the station continued the Christmas Eve fireplace scene for 23 consecutive years. The fireplace scene then became a VHS tape classic and there are now hundreds of virtual fireplaces on the web.

Even a virtual fireplace of crackling logs draws the eye and warms the heart. WPIX first aired the fireplace because so many New Yorkers lived in apartment buildings and the virtual fireplace would bring the light and warmth into their homes on Christmas Eve. Everyone longs for the light, especially in dark times.

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

There is a story from 1744 of Charles Wesley observing the situation of orphans in the community around him. He also looked at the class divide in Great Britain.  He saw people in the cold, in the dark, and knew they longed for the light and the hearth of home. There was a gap between people and a gap between what is and what (and who) humanity is called to be.

Wesley became unsettled. That is what happens in the gap…when one has had a glimpse of the Light and has seen what others have not yet. It was in this unsettled place where Wesley sought a hope and a way forward as he penned this Advent Carol — “Light of Those Whose Dreary Dwelling.”

This Advent Carol is not nearly as well-known as Wesley’s, Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus. However, there is a beauty and truth to the lyrics which speak of the longed-for Light in darkness.

Light of those whose dreary dwelling
Borders on the shades of death,
Come, and by thy love revealing,
Dissipate the clouds beneath:
The new heaven and earth’s Creator,
In our deepest darkness rise,
Scattering all the night of nature,
Pouring eyesight on our eyes.

As you light the hearth, virtual or actual, I invite you to pray this carol.  Let your heart be stirred to bring hope and light to dark places; those in the shadows in your community.

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

In the Light of Christ,



Christmas Fireplace Scene with Crackling Fire Sounds (6 hours)

To read North District Lay Leader Phyllis Murray’s Article
Friday Night Lights, St. John’s Style” click here.

For information on the Basic Mission Team Leadership Training 1/18/2020 at Boulder City UMC, click here.
Emergency Response Team Update, click here.


Global Community UMC, Las Vegas, NV (Rev. Antonieta Fernandes)
United Methodist Social Ministry (UMSM)

Needles Ministry, Needles, CA (Pastor Eugene Stouffer)
Boulder City UMC, Boulder City, NV (Rev. Michael Eaton)
Hope UMC, Bullhead City, AZ (Pastor Rob Lee)



Get information like this in your inbox

Author: Dan Morley

Share This