Christmas Tree reflected off of wall

The Light of the World

Ever Increasing Darkness

Iron skies cast their meaningless light upon the endless supply of dreary grey brambles, which in turn carelessly encircle ugly tree after ugly tree.

Bare, stark alder limbs jut into the tomb-stone sky with an almost craven pleasure. A lone crow stares at me from one branch. He makes a rattling noise, low and ominous, like the twilight itself.

Why did I ever think this trail walk was a good plan?

I turn toward home, eager for the warm light that awaits me there. The bleak gravel trail, engulfed today in endless shadow, offers no contrast between light stones and darker ones – everything seems utterly uniform in grey drab. My color-starved eyes crave the warmth of light, and my feet pick up the pace. Soon I will be home.

As I leave the swamp behind and reach the stone-grey asphalt, the road is no better. It only reflects the melancholy of the deepening grey above.

I imagine that the street is somehow pulling down the clouds into itself, absorbing sky into its own deepening darkness, as the black road ahead grows darker still. The road is a black hole, pulling in the last bit of today’s light.

I’m nearing home, and I just catch a glimpse of my pretty Christmas tree in the window. It beckons me homeward.

Light Breaks Forth

Inside at last, I cast off my shoes and grab warm slipper-socks as quick as you like. My eyes crave more light, and I quickly round the corner into the living room. There she is. The brilliance of my Christmas tree restores my senses aright. I sink into my rocker, smile, and gaze upon that cheerful sight.

It feels great to be home, back from that dismal walk.

I pick up my Bible. Time for today’s reading. And wouldn’t you know it? Next in line for today: the Gospel of John!

Goodness, what a chapter to ponder. I hope you will read it! If you do, read slowly, and several times. It’s a big chapter, full of many truths and lots of events. There is much we can absorb from reading the chapter, even if we aren’t Bible scholars, or have hordes of reference materials.

I like to ask the Holy Spirit to enlighten me, as I read the chapter very slowly. I take my time, going over the passages many times, sometimes in various translations. The Holy Spirit is faithful to help us understand the book He wrote.

Let’s focus on just this first portion today.

John and Genesis

In the beginning was the Word (Jesus), 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 apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.

In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.

And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.

There came a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came for witness, that he might bear witness of the light, that all may believe through him. He was not the light, but came that he might bear witness of the light,

There was the true light, which, coming into the world, enlightens every man.

He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him.

He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him.

But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in his name,

who were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.

John 1:1-14

When God came down as a human baby, Light flooded this world like never before. His presence, His light, makes my little Christmas tree merely a symbol of how once, in a flash, in one holy moment, God broke into this grim, dark world with the birth of a baby.

He descended to the earth He created, and in His coming, in His presence, is the Light of men. As many as receive Him, even to those who believe in His name, we are granted the right to become children of God.

Our passage today in John just happens to tie in with Genesis 1, where we read of God making the world. Let’s take a look:

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. And the earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep; and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters.

And He said, “Let there be light!” and there was light.

Genesis 1:1-3

In the beginning, Jesus was there with His Father creating, as we are taught in our John passage. Without Him, nothing was made.

Jesus, the Light of the World

How beautiful, and supremely appropriate, that the gospel of John equates the life of Jesus with light—that essential thing we need for our survival. When we invite that Light into our lives, the very Son of God, His light shines within us.

His light illuminates the darkness within, those areas which are still living far from light. We yearn to be set free from sin—separation from God. We confess our sin, we turn away from (repent) the old way, and we experience the purity of His Light shining in us, forgiving, renewing, restoring us to Himself.

When we turn from our own way, and yield our lives to Him, He makes us different. We begin to shine, in a way we couldn’t before. His light changes us. The light of Christ, shining within us, floods our lives with grace and truth. People sometimes wonder, why are Christians so “shiny”? What is it about their eyes, that is so full of joy and love?

I hope that you might believe in the name of Jesus today! I hope that you recognize the light of the glory of God in the face of Christ. (Check out 2 Corinthians 4:6)

If you are unsure, and want to know more, keep reading the book of John. Why don’t you read and re-read that first chapter, today?