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December 9, 2010

Christmas Light

There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.
He came as a witness, to beat witness about the light, that all might believe through him.
He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light.
The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.
He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not receive him.
But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God,
who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.


John 1:6-13

Christmas lights are all around us. They illuminate and hang on people homes, bushes and trees. Christmas lights come in many different sizes, shapes and colors. You can get them to blink or be set to a timer. Lights are pretty to look at. They are festive, fun and imaginative. No matter what your opinion of Christmas lights are there is no escaping them. Christmas lights are the first sign the Christmas is coming. It's the first thing to go up (that at stores sale signs) to mark the arrival of the season. How many times to people mark the season with hanging Christmas lights right after Thanksgiving? Or, worse yet, before Thanksgiving? Eeek!

When I read this passage from John one of my earliest questions was wondering if this passage was about The Word becoming flesh or about light. There is some heavy and descriptive message about light from verses 4-14 (chapter 1), but there is also heavy and descriptive language about The Word becoming flesh. However I concluded that it's about both. It's about the true light becoming flesh and made manifest in Jesus.

A day or two ago I watched some seminar for Kabbalah (Hebrew: קַבָּלָה‎, Qabbalah lit. "receiving"; Qabala) and the gentleman speaking was talking about light. He referred to God as light. According to him God had no form, no face, no features. God was light, because everyone knows light when they see it, but not everyone knows God when they see him. People argue over God, but no one argues over light. Interesting thoughts for sure. It's true that God is light (look at John 9 and 1 John), but scripture strongly supports that this light, this true light that enlightens everyone, had a form.

I could, but will not expound further on breaking down some of the disconnects that are obvious to me with this man's thought. I will instead focus on the scripture to clarify for me what I believe to be a very popular thought in today's "religious-sphere," Kabbalah or not.

As christians we believe that God is one. We believe in one God, three persons. Centuries ago and from our ancient texts we get the Shema (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shema_Yisrael) from which the Lord told his people, "Hear, O Isreal: The Lord our God, the Lord is one...." However I believe, as evidence and research suggest, that a transition is occurring/emerging to believing that the "one Lord of the Bible" is shifting to believing in one Lord for all beliefs. This shift is also moving from the title "God" to something much more acceptable, "Light." Light is more user friendly. It's not as offensive or segregating. Light doesn't exclude, but shines on all. God, on the other hand, is offensive and exclusive. God is not scientific, light is though. Light is seen, God isn't very visible. Some people don't believe in God, but everyone agrees that light exists and is real.

You can see why abandoning the Christian God of the bible and clinging to "the all-religious and all-inclusive light" would be so easy to transition to. It seems to make sense right?

"The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, but yet the world did not know him" (John 1:9&10). Scripture reminds us that the Light of the world does have a form, this light, the Lord of the Bible gives his light to all, to everyone, and not just to some randomly selected bunch. This light does have a figure and is not some random deistic flashlight in the sky or out in space that enlightens people to all the answers of the universe. "In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it" (Jn 1:4).

Scripture reminds us that Jesus is the Light of the world.
Scripture reminds us to go Jesus if we feel are surrounded by darkness.
Scripture reminds us that darkness exists and Jesus overcomes it.
Scripture reminds us that divine light is accessible and is freely given to all who receive him and believe in his name.
Scripture reminds us that this Light become flesh and dwelt among us.

This season may all the Christmas lights around you remind you of the light from heaven. May the lights remind you that God didn't not leave us in darkness, but gave us the Light of the world, Jesus Christ his beloved son.

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