The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world.
Philosophers have sought to bring the light of meaning and insight to a confused and muddled world. Economists have worked out intricate theories in an effort to bring the light of efficiency and attainment to a mean and selfish world. Scientists have uncovered the wonders of nature in an effort to bring the light of capability and advancement and ease to a hardscrabble world. Physicians dissect the complexities of the body in order to bring the light of healing and vigor to a sick and dying world.
And it’s not that these lights don’t count; they just don’t count for much, finally. It’s not that they don’t shine; they just don’t shine brightly enough. These lights are limited, earthbound, and ultimately ineffectual against the darkness of sin, the thick darkness of death, and the utter darkness of hell. They can’t do the job.
And what is the job? Lighting us up with life—bringing the beautiful, holy, vigorous, permanent, joyful light of life to mankind! In verse 4 of his opening chapter, John explains the reality of Jesus’ person and purpose when he writes, “In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.” Jesus is the true light of life, John explains, true in the sense of genuine and effective.
Jesus is the light that gets the job done. The light of life shined as he lived a righteous life in our place. The light of life shined when he accepted our sin and guilt and was punished in our stead. The light of life shined when Jesus rose from the dead to live forever, the true and shining hope of our own resurrection and life.
The lights that we put up in our homes during Advent are not mere decorations, but a celebration of history. God’s Son, our Lord Jesus, came into this world to give us the light of life. So enjoy the Christmas lights around you this Advent season by rejoicing in the bright, beautiful life Jesus gives to you.
Lord Jesus, you are the bright Morningstar, the true Light of the world, and you have brought life and immortality to light for mankind. I am alive for your sake, and I will live forever with you in the wonderful light of heaven. But I have this request here and now—help me shine with the light of your love in my home, at work, and among my friends and neighbors. Yes, let me shine for you. Amen.
Rev. Jeff Schone serves Martin Luther College as vice president for student life.