The Christ, Part 1

I will love the light for it shows me the way, yet I will endure the darkness because it shows me the stars. ~Og Mandino

My father proposed to my mother while they were out looking at Christmas lights. It became a family tradition every year to drive around town looking at the twinkling colors.

It was a tradition I continued with my own family. Though I don’t decorate for the holidays, every year we drive through the neighborhoods looking at the lights. In some places we have lived we have even visited special light shows.

Darkness falls like cold black waters in late December, but the Christmas lights offer warmth and hope.

John’s gospel opens with such a light.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

John mentions light many times in his book.

Nicodemus, a member of the Ruling Council, came to Jesus at night, cloaked in darkness to avoid being seen. He talks with Jesus, wanting clarification of who Jesus is. Jesus answers with the famous lines- For God so loved the world that he gave his only son- and then spoke light into Nicodemus’s world-  “But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light . . .” (John 3:1-21)

The Morning Star continued . . .

“I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (8:12)

“While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” (9:5)

John details a miraculous healing in chapter 9. A man born blind is healed and can see for the first time in his life. The Pharisees and rulers are baffled about what to do. They see the man in front of them, but they don’t see the God who healed him. Jesus says now it is the Pharisees who are blind. They have no light.

And as Jesus prepares to be handed over to death he tells his disciples, “You are going to have the light just a little while longer. Walk while you have the light . . . so that you may become children of light.” (12:35-36)

John ends his book with the resurrection of Jesus. It is dark, just before dawn, and Mary Magdalene has gone to anoint the body with herbs and spices. It will be her last act of reverence for the one she believed was the Christ.

Only, his body isn’t there.

As the day dawns, and light floods the garden, Mary recognizes the risen Lord.

“I have seen the Lord!” she declares to all who will listen.

December is dark. Night comes early. Coldness descends. But lights break through the darkness reminding us that Jesus came into the world.

Have you seen the Christmas Light?

The people who walked in darkness
    have seen a great light;
those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness,
    on them has light shone. Isaiah 9:2 ESV

Is It Time Yet?

Patience is not simply the ability to wait – it’s how we behave while we’re waiting. ~Joyce Meyer


Last spring I was looking for a job. The last of my homeschooled children was graduating high school, and it was time that I started helping my family financially. Or so I thought.

I really believe God has called me to write for him. Having a full-time “real” job would greatly prohibit my creative abilities and thus my writing schedule. Basically, I would be too tired to write.

But I looked for a job anyway.

I found the perfect fit, or so I thought. I would teach English online with a company in China. It was perfect. Flexible. Good pay. Right up my alley- teaching and English!

But God told me NO. Three times I put out the fleece and three times he sent it back. I couldn’t explain it, even felt crazy telling people that God told me not to do it. But I obeyed.

Zechariah and Elizabeth prayed for a child. At first they prayed for a son. A boy who would be like his father, a priest for the Lord. They envisioned a cherub that would grow into a man who would care for them in their old age. As time went by, they gave up on a son. A daughter would be fine. She would look like her mother, be gentle and kind, supportive of her family. But the daughter never appeared either.

Finally, the couple gave up. They didn’t know why, but it seemed as if God didn’t find them worthy of this blessing. They questioned, they cried, they hid their pain and embarrassment. And life went on.

Later, Zechariah’s lot as priest was chosen. This would be the year that he would go into the Holy of Holies. It was an honor, a privilege, an awesome event.

Zechariah walked up the steps, the rope tied to his waist jostling against his leg. He pushed the curtain aside like a child entering the Big Kids’ Class and walked forward. Smoke and incense filled the air as he prayed for the people.

Then an angel appeared and a prayer was answered. A son was given.

If Zechariah’s turn to serve had come earlier, he would have missed the divine encounter. If Elizabeth had had children earlier she wouldn’t have been available to host her cousin Mary and praise the mother of Jesus. If John had been born earlier, he would have missed the Christ.

The answer to their prayer had been given all along, it only needed time.

So many times I can’t understand why God doesn’t answer my prayers. I ask for good things. Things that surely are within his will. Perhaps he doesn’t send the blessing because the timing just isn’t right.

Last month I put the fleece back out, and God said YES. I don’t know what made the difference other than time. The time was right and the blessing was given.

May you be patient as you wait for his timing and his blessing.

The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps. Proverbs 16:9 ESV