Preparing for Advent, Insight, and the Descent of the Mars Lander
As we await the landing of Insight, NASA’s lander, to touch down on Mars on Monday, November 26 at approximately noon PST, I cannot help but begin to reflect on insight and yearn to search the scriptures for insightful words. Imagining Insight burrowing into the surface of the Red Planet to explore its interior inspires me to burrow into the scriptures during the reflective Season of Advent and try to discover insights relating to any spiritual hidden mysteries that would help me live a fuller spiritual and social life.
Insight: The Mars Lander
On Monday, you can watch on-line Insight’s touchdown on the surface of the Red Planet Mars. Once Insight has touched down safely, engineers will begin a “three-month-long process of deploying science instruments” that “will start collecting valuable information about the structure of Mars’ deep interior — information that will help us understand the formation and evolution of all rocky planets, including the one we call home.”
Advent and Insight
Advent is also a perfect time to reflect on insight and search the scriptures for the discerning words of the incarnate Christ, who is the focus of Advent.
The Season of Advent begins Sunday, December 2 and ends on December 24, Christmas Eve. Advent offers us an opportunity to dive deeply into a season of quiet reflection and discernment regarding God’s incarnation in Christ. It is a time when Christians are encouraged to keep a reflective vigil to prepare for the commemoration of the birth of Jesus Christ on Christmas during a season when the light of day grows shorter and the darkness of night grows longer.
The scriptures teach us that God “reveals the deep things of darkness and brings utter darkness into the light (Job 12.22)” and that God “knows what lies in darkness” and the “light dwells” with God (Daniel 2.22).
The incarnate Christ is the light. “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 God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ (2 Corinthians 4.6).”
The Gospel of John contains many quotations of Christ as the light, which include:
- “While I am in the world, I am the light of the world (9.5);
- Then Jesus told them, “For a little while longer, the Light will be among you. Walk while you have the Light, so that darkness will not overtake you. The one who walks in the darkness does not know where he is going (12.35);
- I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in Me should remain in darkness (12.46).”
However, the incarnate Christ also told us
- “While you have the Light, believe in the Light, so that you may become sons (and daughters) of light (John 12.36).”
While giving his most famous sermon, the Sermon on the Mount, the incarnate Christ also told each one of us “You are the light of the world (Matthew 5.3).”
May we enter the Advent Season yearning for spiritual discoveries during the coming three-week season as deeply as the engineers will be longing for scientific discoveries during their three-month time of discovery after Insight lands on Mars.
I, for one, will seek to discover how I can become a brighter “son of light” as desired by the incarnate Christ (John 12.36), who also told me that I am the light of the world (Matthew 5.3). Christ also said, “In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven (Matthew 5.16).”
May you and I be as bold as the scientists and engineers that made Insight and its soon-to-be landing on Mars possible, and dig into the teachings of the incarnate Christ unlike ever before during the coming Advent Season, so that our light will shine before others so that they may see our good deeds and glorify our Father in heaven who created the heavens including the Red Planet Mars.