Light is such a gift. It reveals. It protects. It points the way. It cheers the heart. I write these words just after Daylight Saving Time turned all our clocks back. It gets dark now at 5:00pm where I live. In fact, for the next couple months, most of each day will be shrouded in darkness. If this year is anything like the others, I will feel that darkness in my heart from time to time.
We were not meant to walk in darkness. During the Advent season, we remember that we don’t have to. The light has come. To us.
John opens his Gospel echoing the first verses of Genesis. Both places in Scripture are about the advent of something new. Genesis tells us that in the beginning, God created the world and used used His Word to do it. John tells us that in the beginning, that Word was Christ. This is a pretty radical thing to say, because John is telling us not only that Jesus was present for the creation of the world, but that He was actively involved.
When John talks of Jesus as the light of the world (John 8:12), he means for us to connect what he’s saying to the creation account. As both the Word and the Light, Jesus overcomes the darkness of evil. He illuminates the will and grace of God through His life, death, and resurrection.
His is not stationary light we must travel to in order to find. His is a light that takes up residence in His people (John 1:4). We walk in His light. He accompanies us. We do not walk in darkness, but have the light of life (John 8:12). The light of Christ does not give way like the light of winter days, nor do we need to wait idly for its return. The light of Christ is in His people. We carry it with us. We spread it.
One of my favorite moments of the entire year comes during our church’s Christmas Eve service, when “Silent Night” begins to play, the house lights dim, and we begin to pass the flame from the Christ candle throughout the sanctuary. It begins slowly, but soon the light begins to dance on the faces of every man, woman, and child as the entire room is illuminated from the light that started with that single candle.
That light and all the lights that traditionally adorn this season serve to remind us that we were not meant for darkness. And the good news of the Advent season is that because of the coming of Christ, we do not have to walk in darkness. In fact, anyone who follows Him will never walk in darkness. His light dwells in us. Thanks be to God.
Written by Russ Ramsey