“There was a man, sent from God …”
There are now, by current estimations, 2.3 billion men and women sent from God in the world today.
The Light has come, the Word of God has come, our darkness is illumined, and we are on this earth as salt and light. The subject is perhaps a little delicate, but it will help us to remember that it isn’t our Christmas that draws men to Christ Jesus.
It could be; it might be. If we keep Christ in our hearts, as Scrooge kept Christmas in the end, our Christmas might become to others a healthy envy. Let us not forget that the Lord Himself uses envy in a healthy way when the thing to be desired grows on a healthy root. (Romans 11:11-14)
Billions of Christians, sent by God into the world. How can we make such a bold claim? It is because Jesus told us to go into all the world with the Gospel, beginning “at Jerusalem,” both literally and figuratively, starting out from where we are. Most of the time we are “sent” to the grocery store, and there we find a young mother who just dropped her purse and can’t chase the papers blowing away because she can’t leave her babies in the car. Whether we reach down a box of cereal or chase a check book across a parking lot, there is no true kindness we cannot do in Jesus’ name.
We read today that John came into the world to bear witness … to bear witness to the Light. He did so, and very precisely it was made known that he himself was not the light. We bear within us both testimonies; we are very human and we were born, steeped in iniquity, but when such creatures as we smile at a young man or woman trying hard to look “bad” and succeeding in ways they don’t understand, when our smile has the love of God behind it, and not a shred of censure of judgment to be seen, the world changes microscopically.
Oh, it does get complicated. We know that. Jesus loved the Pharisees beyond their understanding, too, but it profited them little. Nevertheless, true light enlightens every man. So it is written, so let it be done, in and through us. Let us pray this season for those who have learned to choose darkness over light. Without fear, without censure, let us pour out our prayers for those who choose to do without Christmas because it might soften their hearts … and won’t it surprise them one day to see, when all things are revealed, that we spent our Christmastide praying for them!
John probably wouldn’t have celebrated Christmas in the desert … but maybe, with a special honey-dipped locust, who knows … but he would most assuredly have helped us see where our Christmas could be tweaked until it sparkled with pure love. My favorite John Scripture is the one in which Jesus tells us that John was the greatest of ALL that had come before him, but that the one who is least in the Kingdom of God is greater than he. (Luke 7:28) That’s me! … and you. Great prophet that he was, we can mend and discipline our own hearts in Christ Jesus! Let’s see to it, that the Light of the World will shine through us and shine in the darkest darkness this season and in the year ahead.
There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.
He came for testimony, to bear witness to the light, that all might believe through him.
He was not the light, but came to bear witness to the light.
The true light that enlightens every man was coming into the world.
(Thursday) John 1:6-9
photo courtesy of Rebroad, Wikipedia