There was as soon as a small baby named Jacob. Jacob had not been a lot serious about Christmas-too younger to recollect the earlier Christmas and never comprehending what it might imply this yr. Not a lot , that’s, till his mom and father started to string lights down the banister and round the home’s entry space. “Oh, Mommy, Mommy!” he exclaimed, “Let me assist make Christmas!” and gathering all the remainder of the lights in his arms, he ran to his room and commenced to string them all over the place till his room resembled one thing just like the Griswald’s home within the film Christmas Trip.
Small as he was, he grasped an vital reality. Christmas is all in regards to the lights-the gentle of the angels bursting by a chilly, darkish sky to sing the music of heaven to terrified shepherds who couldn’t bear in mind something like this occurring earlier than, nor comprehend what was occurring now. The sunshine of a star showing within the sky to anxious magi who had by no means seen something prefer it earlier than couldn’t comprehend a king who was born in a steady. The Mild of the World, born in a steady to a scared teenager supported by her anxious husband.
Mild will get our consideration. On that first Christmas, the true gentle got here into the world, the sunshine that shines within the darkness, however the darkness has not overcome it. The Mild comes once more at present for us. It comes into our lives. It’s right here enlightening our lives. Can we see the Mild of Life because the shepherds did, or will we see it as a disturbance, one thing that unsettles us, one thing that makes us uneasy, one thing that brings a wave of guilt however doesn’t lead us to repentance? Due to the Babe born on the primary Christmas, our lives are lit up with the grace of God, the love of God, the forgiveness of God, the facility of God, and the peace of God.
John’s Gospel has two functions:
1. To introduce his readers to Jesus, and
2. To ascertain who He’s and what He did, all with the only goal of main them to embrace the saving work of Christ.
God got here to us in Christ. When hostility and enmity exist, we are able to break the silence due to Christ and supply what God has provided the us-a phrase of Grace. The true gentle got here on the primary Christmas-the gentle that shines within the darkness, however the darkness has not overcome it. Mild equals life. The Mild of Christ has come into our lives. Can we see it as a disturbance, or will we see it because the Mild of life, because the shepherds did? This gentle brings peace, consolation, reconciliation, and pleasure into our lives.
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There’s a story about two brothers, named Tom and John, whose father had died. He had willed the farm to the 2 of them to maintain his sons collectively. It had not labored that method. John had married and lived in a small city together with his household. Tom, who remained single, lived alone within the previous farmhouse. “John is all the time preoccupied together with his household,” Tom thought. “I do greater than my share of the work.” He started to resent his brother. “Tom is all the time so grouchy,” thought John. “He’s jealous of my spouse and youngsters.”
A wall of resentment constructed up between them. They’d hardly communicate to one another. They attended the identical little church on the town and sat on reverse sides of the nave throughout the Christmas Eve service. John was troubled as a result of that they had hardly acknowledged one another’s presence as they sat in church. On the way in which residence, John stated to his spouse, “Tom is alone and has nobody to share Christmas. I do know he gained’t come right here. Perhaps we are able to take a heat dinner to him.” His spouse ready a scrumptious meal, put it right into a sleigh, and began from the small city to the nation’s farmhouse. In the meantime, Tom, sitting alone, stated to himself: “Life is just too quick for this. John is my solely brother, and he has it exhausting together with his spouse and household. I’ll load my wagon with wooden for the hearth and presents for the kids.” So he loaded his wagon and drove towards city.
Down within the valley between the farm and the city, they met. They have been silent for a second, after which they embraced with shouts of “Merry Christmas!!!!” The reconciliation happened at that second, and the true gentle of Christmas was vivid with a glow that could possibly be seen for miles round.
Christ, the sunshine was on the planet. He made the world, however the world didn’t know Him. Within the Bible, the phrase “flesh” usually means “the entire individual.” Human nature is distinct and separate from God; the human nature in all of its weak point and susceptibility of sin. The rejecter’s loss is the believer’s achieve. The best way has been opened for God’s goal to be fulfilled in us. Christ’s grace is inexhaustible. The aim of the Mild is to make us His kids. He’s God over us, and He’s our advocate. He pleads our case as a result of He loves us.
Jesus revealed His love for us by the best act of self-sacrifice a person might perform-He gave His life for us. God grew to become certainly one of us. Christ has recognized with us, and He desires to allow us to stay fulfilled lives. The church owes its life to the Phrase of promise and is nourished and preserved by the identical Phrase. If the soul has the Phrase, it’s wealthy and is missing nothing of peace, of righteousness, of salvation, of pleasure, of liberty. Creation’s temper calls us to a mature, clear-sighted, and steadfast religion. Christmas’s actual which means lies within the mixture of magical ceremonies and the message that God has damaged by our human selfishness.
John’s Gospel provides perspective whereby the reader is led all the way in which again to Creation to see even that within the gentle of the resurrection. John factors us regularly towards Jesus and His mission. John’s life is directed towards Jesus and in service of His kingdom. We should let go of EVERYTHING that’s blocking God’s path to us. To have a relationship with Christ is to have a relationship of openness to God and share His everlasting life. The world can’t perceive the sunshine and darkness, however our universe’s darkness has been scattered. The one who’s gentle suffered the darkness of demise and hell in our place. The Crucifixion didn’t extinguish the sunshine as a result of Jesus is Lord of Loss of life and Lord of Life. We’re not in darkness anymore. We’ve got “seen the sunshine.” God’s phrase has created us and sure us collectively.
God’s immensity is all the time flooding us with grace. Our religious blindness can’t drive us away from God’s grace. Our sinful nature’s main consequence is blindness to the reality, actuality, the character of sin, and the need of a Saviour. The Saviour of humankind has been given to us. The Phrase is immersed in each side of our lives-from empty issues at work, to temptation, to fun-time partying, to betrayal, to exhilaration, to grief, to laughter, to ache. We draw grace from God’s whole assets—an inexhaustible warehouse. From his fullness, we have now all obtained grace upon grace. Grace and reality got here by Jesus Christ.
The opposite Gospels depict the glory of God coming upon Jesus on the transfiguration; nevertheless, John sees the glory of God in all Jesus says and does. In John’s thoughts, the hour for Jesus to be glorified is the crucifixion.
If we are saying we have now fellowship with God, meaning we partake of his divine nature. If we are saying we have now no sin, we deceive ourselves. If we have now fellowship with God, we should be like Him and make room in our lives and hearts for others AND Jesus. Christmas could be a time for sheer pleasure, nevertheless it will also be a time of nice ache and sorrow, particularly for many who have misplaced a cherished one, or who’re unwell, or who’ve misplaced their job, or who’ve suffered different kinds of losses. There’s hope within the true story of Christmas-hope God gave us within the child, our redeemer, Jesus Christ. The Mild of the World brings hope to the world. God lives right here inside us. If God retains his guarantees, is it as a result of he desires to, or is it due to his nature? He gained’t do something apart from what He has executed by Christ and is now doing just because he can’t do anything.
I learn a information story the opposite day a few transfer underway to make Jesus Christ the honorary king of Poland. Jesus got here to earth on that first Christmas over 2,000 years in the past to create His earthly kingdom and draw us into his heavenly kingdom by spreading the Good Information of the Phrase and salvation, particularly to the poor, the hungry, and the oppressed all through the world, particularly in international locations equivalent to China, Kenya, Iran, Nigeria, India, and Iraq. Even in these darkest corners of the world, the sunshine shines so brightly that it pierces the deepest, darkest corners of man’s soul and opens his coronary heart to the enjoyment of the Christmas season.
In his Christmas Day message this yr, Pope Benedict issued an attraction for the poor, the exploited, and all those that endure. He stated (quote):
The twenty first century’s humanity seems as positive and self-sufficient grasp of its personal future, the avid proponent of uncontested triumphs, but this isn’t the case. Folks proceed to die of starvation and thirst, illness and poverty on this age of a lot and unbridled consumerism. Some folks stay enslaved, exploited, and stripped of their dignity; others are victims of racial and spiritual hatred, hampered by intolerance and discrimination. Others see their very own our bodies and people of pricey ones, significantly their kids, maimed by weaponry, by terrorism, and by all types of violence at a time when everybody invokes and acclaims progress. It is because of this that Jesus Christ is reborn. For he is aware of that even at present, we want him. Regardless of humanity’s many advances, man has all the time been the identical: a freedom poised between good and evil, between life and demise. (Finish quote)
Even a small gentle can dispel nice darkness—even a tiny candle can drive darkness out of a big room. Mild and darkness are opposites, however they aren’t opposites of equal energy. Mild is stronger than darkness; darkness can not prevail towards it…Equally, darkness can not overcome those that stroll within the gentle. To witness for Christ usually provokes the forces of darkness to violence, and Christian witnesses usually turn into martyrs—a actuality as true at present in lots of elements of the world because it ever was within the Roman world of Christ’s time. A lot of the world at present remains to be in insurrection. It nonetheless prefers darkness to gentle as a result of its deeds are evil. That’s true of all of us at sure factors in our lives.
This similar gentle pierces the darkest corners of our personal actuality of sins and failures. This similar gentle motivates us greater than guilt. No quantity of excellent works can fully erase the guilt and stain of failure and sin from our previous. We’ve got the real Spirit of the Residing God whose ministry on the planet is to disclose our want for a Saviour. This exact same Saviour took our downside of sin and nailed it to the Cross. Whereas the Holy Spirit convicts us of our sin, He then leads us to Christ, giving us the present of religion that we’d obtain the grace of God. Christ’s forgiveness causes us to turn into new folks. Then, by grace, we are able to stroll within the new works that change the previous works.
The Phrase encompasses each phrase and deed. It’s not us doing by God. It’s God residing His life by us. It’s Immanuel; God is with us. We’re known as to proclaim the righteousness of God to have fun the present of life. We make God recognized on this world by our witness to God’s love. We stand on the power of God’s love and attain out to embrace these God sends to us.
At this joyous Christmas time, we are able to’t even try to grasp the Phrase. All we are able to do is stand in awe and surprise beside the crib, seeing in and thru the kid “the glory of the One and Solely, who got here from the Father, filled with grace and reality.” The sunshine is seen within the Youngster AND in all who’re struck by the sunshine that comes from the Youngster.