“The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it. There came a man who was sent from God; his name was John. He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all men might believe. He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light. The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world. ” — John 1:5-9
Wreath Directions: Light one purple candle on your advent wreath.
Read: Isaiah 40:1-9; Malachi 3:1, 4:5; John 1:1-9
Suggested Carol: Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus
It was easy to make a mistake. Here was a prophet, John the Baptist, preaching about the kingdom of God and baptizing people in the Jordan River. Was he the light that Isaiah spoke about in Isaiah 60? Was he the messiah, the one to whom the nations would come and offer gifts? I’m sure many people got very excited when John the Baptist burst onto the scene around A.D. 30. Finally, after 400 silent years, God appears to be speaking to us!
But John’s knowledge of who he was differed from the people. Some of them asked John, “Who are you? Are you the Messiah? Are you Elijah? Are you the prophet like Moses?” John responded with the words of Isaiah 40:3, “I am the voice of one calling in the desert, “Make straight the way for the Lord.’” (John 1:19-23) How cool of a response is that!
John was not the Light. Jesus was the Light. John’s calling was to prepare the way for Jesus and proclaim Him as the Light of the World. John had no power to enlighten the hearts of men. He had no power to reach into those same hearts and see the true motivation for how we act, think, and live our lives. Jesus did. So John’s purpose was to show people the Light of Christ, in order that they may place their faith in Jesus and be saved.
I love Christmas lights. Every year I would boldly attempt a meek display of icicle lights, driveway outlines, and lighted garland outside my house. Now, whenever I see neighbors putting up their lighted displays, I get excited. There’s just something about light and color and beauty that makes my heart rejoice.
One reason we put Christmas lights up during this season is because we are celebrating Jesus as the Light of the World. The tradition of using lights as a celebration happens in nearly every culture of the world, even in places like China and India, where lights are placed on roofs or inside paper bags.
Light shining in the darkness makes a statement that darkness will not prevail in our world. When we display anything from a garage security light to a tree accent lamp, we are proclaiming that we have the power to conquer the dark. For Christians, that power is more than a light bulb or two. It is spiritual power, which comes from Jesus Christ. He has conquered sin and death and is restoring broken lives and we can, too, through Him.
This Christmas season let your purpose be the same as John’s. Be a testimony to Jesus Christ. Show people around you His everlasting Light and pray that they might see and believe.
Jesus is the Light of the World. Let us proclaim Him!
This week’s Advent prayer is:
“Our Father in heaven, we light this candle to thank You for Your Son, our Savior Jesus Christ, who is the light of the world. We who have sat in darkness have seen a great light, the light of Jesus Christ, our salvation. We give You thanks and praise in Jesus’ name, because He lives and reigns with You in Your glory, and in the unity of the Holy Spirit. Amen.”