In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
I wonder how long it took John, under the Spirit’s inspiration, to settle on these particular word-images to describe the indescribable. John knew Jesus personally. He heard him teach, witnessed many of Jesus’ miracles, and was there when Jesus calmed the storm and later when He walked on water. John saw Jesus die on the cross, and then talked with him after the resurrection. So, when John sat down to write his account of Jesus’ life, I wonder what went through his mind as he chose these words. John decided to call Jesus “the Word” and “the light,” images rich in Biblical meaning and poetic weight. Of the four Gospel writers, maybe of all New Testament authors, John was the best wordsmith, able to make mysterious truths understandable. Nowhere is that more evident or more important than in the opening lines to his Gospel.
John didn’t tell the Christmas story. He didn’t mention Mary and Joseph or the shepherds or the manger where Jesus slept his first night. Instead, John wanted his readers to know that Jesus is God and has been with God from “the beginning.” That is, Jesus has always existed as God and with God, there before this world was created, there to participate fully and powerfully in the Creation. John wanted us to know that Jesus existed before all things and that his birth into this world was not his beginning. Jesus came into the world that He helped create, bringing life-giving light to all humanity. Those are deep and heavy ideas that John’s words have carried into the hearts of believers for 2,000 years.
As we enter this Advent season, we need to remember with John, that Jesus came to bring light into darkness. We also need to take hold as firmly and as faithfully as we can to John’s declaration that the darkness has not overcome the light. We cling to that truth, even in the face of so much lingering trouble and despair in our broken, hurting world. Jesus brings us the undimming light of God’s goodness that shines just as gloriously today as it did when the world was made through him. Don’t allow the darkness to overshadow you. Turn your heart, instead, to the Light and to the good news of our Savior’s birth.
Jesus, I believe You are God and that You have existed from before all time. I believe You came into this world to bring light to my heart and to everyone who believes. Help me reflect Your light to others so they can find their way to You. I pray in Your name. Amen.
Pastor Mike Mirakian