This is the last day of our Advent Calendar. The reading is the one so often read at this time of year, the opening of John’s Gospel (NIV and The Message, as before)
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
6 There was a man sent from God whose name was John. 7 He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe. 8 He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.
9 The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognise him. 11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God – 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.
14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
15 (John testified concerning him. He cried out, saying, ‘This is the one I spoke about when I said, “He who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.”’) 16 Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given. 17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in the closest relationship with the Father, has made him known.
1-2 The Word was first,
the Word present to God,
God present to the Word.
The Word was God,
in readiness for God from day one.
3-5 Everything was created through him;
nothing—not one thing!—
came into being without him.
What came into existence was Life,
and the Life was Light to live by.
The Life-Light blazed out of the darkness;
the darkness couldn’t put it out.
6-8 There once was a man, his name John, sent by God to point out the way to the Life-Light. He came to show everyone where to look, who to believe in. John was not himself the Light; he was there to show the way to the Light.
9-13 The Life-Light was the real thing:
Every person entering Life
he brings into Light.
He was in the world,
the world was there through him,
and yet the world didn’t even notice.
He came to his own people,
but they didn’t want him.
But whoever did want him,
who believed he was who he claimed
and would do what he said,
He made to be their true selves,
their child-of-God selves.
These are the God-begotten,
14 The Word became flesh and blood,
and moved into the neighborhood.
We saw the glory with our own eyes,
the one-of-a-kind glory,
like Father, like Son,
Generous inside and out,
true from start to finish.
15 John pointed him out and called, “This is the One! The One I told you was coming after me but in fact was ahead of me. He has always been ahead of me, has always had the first word.”
16-18 We all live off his generous bounty,
gift after gift after gift.
We got the basics from Moses,
and then this exuberant giving and receiving,
This endless knowing and understanding—
all this came through Jesus, the Messiah.
No one has ever seen God,
not so much as a glimpse.
This one-of-a-kind God-Expression,
who exists at the very heart of the Father,
has made him plain as day.
Finally: I wanted a Merry Christmas video to end with. Several options were considered, it was a hard thing to pick. But the Twyford Tech Team helped me to Pick ‘Ard, and here it is:
As we pray today, remember those who will spend Christmas alone. Pray that somehow they will be aware of God’s Light shining on them.
Pray for those who have to work hard at Christmas: those in hospitals, emergency services, hotels and restaurants, and whoever is cooking for you if it is not yourself.
Pray that people will become aware of Jesus in a fresh way this Christmas, that some might even stumble into a midnight service tonight having thought it might be good idea, and see the Light for the first time.
Pray for those who once said they followed Jesus, but who don’t do so any more, that they might once again catch sight of the Light over this Christmas period.
“Exposing the words of darkness” isn’t about going around and pointing out people’s faults and making them embarrassed.
When you expose a film, what happens is that the light shines on it and alters it. Full light will simply wipe the negative clean, nothing will be left showing on it at all.
As we bring people into the Light of Jesus, so His grace shines on them and their sin is seen no more. They are transformed from darkness to light.
So make a point of no longer pointing out other people’s wrongdoings and faults. Instead, just show them Jesus. When they see the Light, they will change.
The more Light you see, the more you will change too!
Why are Christmas trees so fond of the past? Because the present’s beneath them.
Why was the ornament addicted to Christmas? He was hooked on trees his whole life.