Light Of The World: Christmas Article 2017

There is always something special to me about the way we use light in our Christmas decorations.  During the dark daysnoopy 2016s of winter, these little lights are beacons of hope and warmth.  For the Christ-follower, Advent and Christmas is a call to be awakened by God’s presence in our lives. Our decorations using light nudge us to consider this great and amazing reality that God would become human.



Consider the account of creation in Genesis. “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.   Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.   And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.   God saw that the light was good.”  (Gen 1:1-5)

Take note how John’s Gospel begins with a similar cadence; “in the beginning was the word and the word was with God and the word was God… in Him was life, and that life was the light of mankind.” (John 1:1,4).  Light and life are identified as deeply intertwined, the advent demonstrates that the life of Christ is the light of humanity.  The first act of creation was light and the light was good.  Life and light coexist together. To have life is to have light… to have light is to have life.  John says the light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.

John also describes John the Baptist in verses 6-8. “There came a man who was sent from God; his name was John.  He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all men might believe. He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.” John reminds us that that not everyone gets or accepts that Jesus is the light.

One of the themes of Advent is the sense of surprise in how, when and where Jesus entered this earth.  The people of Israel were expecting, even longing for the Messiah to come -but as a conquering King who would get rid of the Romans and establish them as God’s chosen and anointed peoples. The Magi went first to the palace of Herod to seek the new king. The people of that day missed the arrival of the true light that gives light to every person.  The Shepherds were guided to a stable, with a baby placed in a manger. For Jesus came not to redeem a nation or a peoples, but to redeem individuals.  So, John says: “Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—   children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God. The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”

“The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.” (John 1:14) is why we celebrate Christmas and why light is such a significant part of that celebration.

The light of Christ is the light of mankind.  Having Christ within us means that we become light bearers.  We do not become the light -but Christ shines within us.  We shine like stars.  In these cold days of winter, as we celebrate the Advent of Jesus, may the light of Christ not only warm your hearts and souls, may the light of Christ be a beacon of hope and celebration to all with whom you come in contact.



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