Section 1: The Light of the World
One of my more colorful Bible college professors used to joke with his students about how he’d rewrite church Christmas pageants if he were given the chance. Most children’s Christmas plays center around the accounts of the Savior’s birth in Luke and Matthew—the angelic announcement to the shepherds, the census that crowded Mary and Joseph out of the inn, Jesus’s birth, and the visit of the magi.
“I’d write a Christmas pageant based on the Gospel of John,” my professor would say. “It would be dark, and we’d have a zipline! Then the narrator would read, ‘The light shines in the darkness…The Word became flesh.’ And the kid playing Jesus would whoosh down from the rafters, turn on all the lights, and announce, ‘I’m here!’ Wouldn’t that be fun?!”
Jesus came in the weakness of infancy, not in triumphant splendor. And that fact would probably be lost on the children in the Christmas play if my professor got his way. But on the other hand, my professor may have had a point. Sometimes it’s easy for us to miss how sudden and cataclysmic it was for the Creator Himself to become human.
Just as “God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light” (Genesis 1:3), so also at the Father’s word, God Himself—the one clothed eternally in light, the one through whom and for whom all things were made—took on our humanity. As the Nicene Creed says, “Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light…for us and our salvation…came down from heaven.”
We dwell in a world full of darkness. And when Jesus Christ, the light from heaven, entered it, He further exposed our darkness and sin. Confronted with the sudden appearance of God as man, many shrank back into the shadows. At the cross, others attempted to put out the light. But as John writes, “The light shines in the darkness, and yet the darkness did not overcome it” (John 1:5).
The good news is that Jesus came not only to expose our evil and sin, but to conquer it by speaking a better word. Just as the Creator once spoke light into existence, Christ speaks forgiveness and reconciliation. This Advent season, don’t miss the sudden and cataclysmic nature of that miracle. Jesus is here!