The Christmas season is associated with a variety of meanings and memories. This time of year holds special significance for many individuals. Cherished moments recalled from Christmas times past are among the most warm and meaningful many hold within their hearts.
At its core, however, Christmas is a celebration of the moment when Jesus entered this world in the flesh. He did so to provide a way that our sins could be forgiven, and thus we could be reconciled to God. Speaking of Jesus, John 1:4-5 (NIV) says the following:
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.
The theme of Jesus representing light and life shining in the world’s darkness continues throughout the Gospel of John. For example, John 3:19-20 reads:
This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed.
In contrast to those who love the darkness, Jesus is recorded in John 8:12 as saying:
I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.
Over the past few weeks I’ve been on a wonderful journey through the Gospel of John. Before I began, I asked the Lord to open my eyes to this book of the New Testament as if I had never read it before. In his grace the Lord answered my prayer. I’ve noticed words and themes that had not really jumped from the pages during the previous times I’ve read this portion of Scripture. Quite a few of these center on the degree of intimacy that the Lord invites us to enjoy with him.
As this Christmas season unfolds, I find myself wanting to draw closer to the light than I’ve ever been before. In fact, this is my prayer for 2022.
The darkness of this world is all around us. Media outlets, corporations, educational entities, governments, and many other institutions that at one time seemed to reflect at least some amount of light seem now to have found a home deep within the realm of darkness. Many celebrate this fact. They see the light of Christ as revealed in Scripture as meaningless for modern life. To the degree that denying Christ represents darkness, they proudly embrace the metaphor.
And yet, the light still shines. Some 2,000 years later the darkness has still not overcome it. The light of Christ is still there for all who choose to draw near.
As the 2021 Christmas season continues to unfold, and as 2022 begins, we encourage you to consider taking a journey through the Gospel of John. Spending just a few quiet moments a day to read and prayerfully reflect on this portion of Scripture has the potential to be life changing.
As the darkness around us continues to grow, drawing nearer to the light through God’s word and prayer can open our eyes to things that those who love the darkness will not understand until the second time that Jesus arrives on earth. At that moment light, life, and truth will be evident to everyone, and those who love the darkness will mourn more deeply than anyone ever has.
Even as we draw nearer to the light, closer to God, and learn to live more intimately in his love, let’s pray that the Lord will open the eyes of those living in darkness. Rather than being angry at them, let’s recall that it’s by God’s grace alone that any of us have been exposed to the light. None of us deserve it, yet all of us need it. May 2022 see millions who for the first time see and draw near to the light of Christ. Amen.