December 20, 2017
READ: John 1:1-5, 11-14
The Word became human and made his home among us (v.14).
The song “Go Light Your World” has long been a favourite of mine for its portrayal of the power of the gospel. The lyrics, echoing Matthew 5’s image of believers as the light of the world, provocatively invite the church to actively seek out—even run to—places of pain that are in need of the hope of the gospel.
The song’s emphasis on choosing to move towards darkness highlights the truth of John 1 that would’ve been most shocking to its original audience. When John described a Word that brings life and meaning to the world (vv.1-5), both Gentiles and Jews would’ve understood. Gentiles would’ve heard the “Word” as a description of an inner principle uniting the world, while Jewish people would’ve heard Scriptures’ teaching of God’s Word and wisdom creating and unifying the world.
But for both groups, the concept of this Word becoming human would’ve completely shattered their assumptions about God. John described a God who, rather than withdrawing from humanity in its pain and corruption, chose to “move into the neighbourhood” (1:14 The Message) to fully enter suffering and overcome it with His powerful love.
Millennia later, this is still stunningly good news. In a world that assumes it’s wise to “move away from suffering . . . out of neighbourhoods where there is high crime . . . away from people who don’t look like us,” Christmas reminds us that our God did the opposite. And if we follow Jesus, we’re commissioned to do the same, to “laugh at fear, to lean into suffering [and] open ourselves to the stranger” (Common Prayer). This Christmas, may His light transform our darkness, and may we fearlessly share this hope with the world.
365-day plan: James 2:1-13
Read Matthew 5:3-16 and reflect on what seems surprising about Jesus’ description of the kind of kingdom life that will shine His light for all to see.
Why do you think we often fall back into patterns of self protection instead of fearlessly displaying the power of the gospel? Are there any areas of fear in your life that God may be calling you to face in His power?