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?