God calls to Samuel one night. And Samuel gets up to ask Eli what he wanted (First Samuel 3:1-10). But Eli had not called. This happened a second time and finally Eli realized that God was calling Samuel and instructed the child, coached the child to answer, “Speak Lord, for your servant is listening.”
Yahweh did call for a third time, and this time Samuel responded as he was instructed. And so it was that Samuel finally heard what it was God wanted to say to him. And so it was that Samuel learned the fate which was to fall upon Eli. And so it was that Samuel becomes the hope of a new beginning. The lamp burns brightly, once again. The times may have been dark in the days of Samuel, and the presence of God among his people somewhat sporadic, but there is good news—the lamp of God had not yet gone out.
Isn’t that the promise of Advent?
(That God’s light still has the power to overcome darkness).
Isn’t that the mystery of Christmas?
(That God’s light still lives among us–even when we fail to see it).
Isn’t that the heart of Epiphany?
(That the light of God’s love has not gone out, but still burns freely for all the world to see).
Clingmans Dome, TN