Friday, December 12, 2014

Advent Day 13

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people.
The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light.
– John 1:1-8
“There was a man…whose name was John.” His name really wouldn’t have been John but rather Yochanan, “YHWH is gracious,” a name given to his father, Zechariah, by an angel but which would have been a perfect name for the long-desired child of a childless couple who had all but lost hope. John grew up to be what we would call a prophet but who called himself a messenger, one who would announce the impending arrival of an adult Jesus as the one coming to bring light to the world.
How odd that John would be the one to testify to a light that was coming yet had existed before the creation of light itself. The gospel writer, himself called John, was one whose chronicle was filled with signs and wonders rather than miracles and more mystical understandings rather than just facts or stories. John (the writer) didn’t provide a nativity story or even a genealogy – but in essence, his was the ultimate genealogy. His was the only genealogy who traced Jesus back to God and the world before light and time.
We frequently use the image of light and the light of the world when we refer to Jesus. Later in John’s gospel Jesus said, “…I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life. “ (8:12b-c). We hear it often in sermons and devotions but how often do we think of it in terms of what it could mean in our own lives?
We need light to see where to put our feet, particularly at night. But how often do we look for a light inside when the soul feels dark and clueless. We could use a man like John (the prophet) to remind us that there is light. The light of which he spoke was coming and could shine through any darkness. What a message of comfort and hope that can be to someone whose world seems impenetrable and featureless.
Ever seen the face of someone in love or who is totally involved in work or art that they are passionate about? There’s a light that shows in their face that is really hard to hide. That is the light of love, the kind that brightens the world not only for the beloved or those who are benefitting from the passion but those who witness it. Can you imagine the brightness of the love God has for us? How bright the love of Jesus has been and is? Wouldn’t the vision of light that bright and that strong attract us to the light itself?
There is one more verse to consider. “…let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven” (Matt. 5:16b-c). When the light of Christ shines through you, it shows. Be a beacon for someone today who sorely needs a bit of light.

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