Light and Life

The snow falls and swirls outside as I sit to write these thoughts. Trying to ponder and write about the meaning of the divine Word who brings life and light to the world, I have created a mood for myself here in my office: the bright, harsh fluorescent lights are turned off. I rely on my desk lap and a table lamp and a few candles to illuminate the space. And in the dimness of the office, the cold chill of winter, the meager warmth of a scarf and a hot cup of tea, I am left thinking of light.

It’s hard to talk about light. It is something ungraspable, ethereal, fleeting. Light is a presence rather than something we can touch or taste or smell. We may hardly think about it when its around us, but we certainly know and feel it’s absence.

We know the blindness of waking up in the middle of the night and waiting for our eyes to adjust to the dark before we get up to get a drink of water. We miss the sun during these long nights of winter. We take darkness for granted. But against the backdrop of darkness, light shines yet brighter. It takes a deep black sky to truly see stars. It takes a dark and stormy sky for us to appreciate the brightness of lightning. We must wait for the sun to set late on a summer night before we can enjoy fireworks.

Advent is near its end, and we are longing for a word of light and hope to break through our darkness. We have been waiting for the light of God’s promise, and look eagerly to Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, when the light of the star of Bethlehem will flash across our eyes, when the angels will appear in the night in dazzling array, and when the glow of a new mother’s face will brighten the stable where Christ, the true light that gives life, has come into the world.

In the beginning was the Word, 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 without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.

There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light. The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him. He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him. But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God.

And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father's only son, full of grace and truth. (John 1:1-14)

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