The Source of Light and Life
Open Your Bible
John 12:46-50, John 14:6, Isaiah 60:1-3, 2 Corinthians 4:1-6, Revelation 1:12-20
Section 1: The Light of the World
I live about a mile from our town square, which marks the middle of our almost-too-cute Main Street. At Christmas time, the whole town turns almost overnight. We have an actual annual festival where carolers dress in Dickensian-era costumes and people drink cider and cocoa while they wander through brightly-decorated shops. It’s a little Stars Hollow, a little Bedford Falls, and a whole lot of fun.
The crowning moment every season, though, is the lighting of the Christmas tree. It stands forty feet tall, right in the middle of the town square. And on the night it is finally lit, the holiday magic in the air is palpable. Every night for the next several weeks, my family goes out of our way to drive through the square on the way home to catch a glimpse of forty feet of perfect, sparkling white lights. When we drive by it, I take a deep breath and try to fill my lungs, my head, and my heart with the sweetness of the season.
Advent feels like a pause, a necessary detour every year, to fill my heart with hope. And the lights which pierce the darkness are a physical reminder of the hope that Christ brought into a dark world. Advent is so necessary because the world is so dark, and we cling to the sweet aroma of Christ to awaken our deadened senses. In 2 Corinthians 4:4, Paul wrote “the god of this age has blinded the minds of the unbelievers to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ.” The gods of this age, all rooted in our self-serving sin, blind us so easily: fame, influence, war, disunity, greed, power that leads to injustice, and more. As believers we are tempted by sin and we fumble through the darkness, but we can cling to the light of Christ.
This is the message Jesus gives us in John 12: that He is the Light of the World, and that whoever believes in Him will not remain in darkness. It’s not a passive statement for us, but a call to believe. Jesus and Paul both remind us in today’s readings that the call to belief comes from God. God calls us to the light, Jesus brings us into the light, and the Holy Spirit enables our presence as people of the light. After all, God brought light into the world first.
We can’t find our way out of the darkness alone. We can’t light the way for ourselves or for others, no matter what the gods of the age or our sinful hearts tell us. The way out of the darkness is Christ alone. The Light of the World is Christ alone.