“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.” John 1:5 (NRSV)
This Sunday is December 25th. It happens every so many years that Christmas Day falls on a Sunday. Some churches choose to let their Christmas Eve services be the worship for the week, and some have always had some kind of service on Christmas Day no matter when it fell during the week.
We fall in the middle. I am a firm believer that worship should be held no matter what day it is, so we will have Sunday morning worship on Christmas Day. However, rather than read the Luke and Matthew birth narratives again (we will have heard them at least twice between the children’s pageant and Christmas Eve), I decided to use the passage from John 1:1-14.
It’s a little different approach and expands the idea of Christmas from a birth in a manger with visits from shepherds and Magi to the presence of Christ in our world. This was and is the Light we all need as we live our lives.
The passage above from verse 5 reminds us that the Light of Christ will not and cannot be extinguished. Nothing this world delivers or does will change that. For some of us, that is an important message to remember. In Romans 8, we are reminded that nothing – nothing at all – NOTHING AT ALL – will separate us from God’s love in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:37-39).
In a world where terrorism often seems to “win,” anger and hatred abound, pain and suffering are all around us, people live in poverty, on the streets, families struggle to feed their children, and so many things seem to be negative, we need to remember that the Light will not be extinguished – nothing will separate us from God’s love.
We need Christmas Day and Easter Day to remember what God has done for us through the life, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus who came into the world to be our savior. And, we also need to remember that we are part of sharing the Light of Christ with others because that Light shines through us. As the church, we are part of the Body of Christ on earth and called to give generously, speak up when we see injustices, and offer kindness and compassion in a world where we can sometimes see very little.
We are part of making a difference. My former district superintendent used to remind me: it’s not about you, meaning that it IS about Jesus Christ. Sometimes, we have to put ourselves aside and stretch ourselves out of complacency and comfort zones to bring the word of God’s love to the world.
That’s what the celebration of Christmas does for the world – we are part of it.
How will you go a step beyond this season to show care and compassion for someone else?
Where and how will you shine the light of Christ in your world?