Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Light has come into the world

I did not plan to post today, but last night as I was unwinding from a very busy couple of days, sitting by the lit candles of my advent wreath, I thought again how much I love candles and the light comes from candles.  I set up my tripod and took a picture of one of the candles.  I thought of Isaiah 9:2.

At this time of the year we think about the Incarnation, the miracle of the Word made flesh.  We focus on the beauty of our Saviour as a human baby, a vulnerable, weak lamb.  But the baby is also the light of the world.  The story does not stop at the manger.  The third chapter of John tells us this:
16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. 19 And this is the judgment:the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. 20 For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed.
Christ, the light of the world, has come to expose our deeds, to reveal our sin and to call us to live in the light.  The story doesn't end at the manger, because as we come Christ, we walk in His light.  We walk in the light as He is in the light.  Furthermore, we carry the light.
You are the light of the world.  A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.  Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house.  In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. (Matt. 5:14)
It doesn't end at the manger, as wonderful and miraculous as it is.  Recently, I heard a pastor share an analogy that I loved.  He spoke about going to a hotel with his wife for a vacation.  As they walked into the foyer of the hotel, they were in awe of its beauty and comfort.  There were plump couches and comfortable reading nooks with cozy corners for people to sit.  He said he didn't want to leave the foyer because it was so beautiful!  When they got to their room, it was even more beautiful.  His point was that the Incarnation is only the foyer; what lies beyond the manger is even more beautiful.  The light has come, and it calls to people.  Those who embrace the light must bear the light and carry it everywhere.  Sometimes, the day after Christmas feels anti-climactic.  The excitement has died down, the presents are unwrapped, the main event has passed.  Sometimes, we forget that it is not over at all!  The light remains.  It is there to light our way, to continue to convict us of sin, to keep us from stumbling.  It is there for us to share with those who continue to walk in the darkness.  May we take seriously this responsibility to carry the light forward even after the Christmas excitement has died down.

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