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The Word who brings Life and Light

Christmas Message 2015

By Nigel Selby

We recently visited Buxton which was being all decked out for Christmas. Unfortunately we weren’t there to see the grand switch on by a celebrity. The idea seems to be that we need something to brighten up our dark world in the winter months.
John opens his gospel with these words.

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.

(John 1:1-5)

At Christmas we think of the coming of Jesus into the world as something of a fairy story. The neat images of a tidy stable, a glowing lamp and contented parents surrounded by the obligatory donkey and ox, mislead our thinking. But God is doing something greater than we imagine when Jesus arrived on that night.

John’s words are meant show us that this child is God, God’s own Son. Not only is he God’s Son, he is the One who existed before creation and by whom all things were created. John describes Jesus as the Word. He purposely wants to take us back to creation, where in Genesis 1, we read God spoke words and it became a reality. It is God’s word the Bible tells us is the thing that brings all things into being. We need to understand what this means. John is telling us Jesus is God, not a God. He is telling us Jesus wasn’t created or made but was here before all creation.

What we see when Jesus steps into history as a man, is the wonder of God’s creative power all over again. When God created all things the first thing that came into being was light (Gen 1:3). John tells us that in Jesus, God is recreating a new world.

In him was life and that life was the light of men.

God’s re-creation is about life. Life that was lost when humanity turned its back on its creator. But now John says Jesus is the life-giver. Maybe we underestimate what this means. Before our rebellion against God men and women had an unbroken and death free relationship with God. John wants us to see that Jesus is the one who restores that death
free relationship with God. Just as in creation God brought all things to life, so in Jesus we are able to be reborn into the life the creator intended for us.

The drumbeat of the news everyday shows us the evil and wickedness of the world we live in. Even in the relative safety of our land there is now unease and insecurity because of recent events in Paris.

Whilst I’m typing this in my study the light is streaming through the window, blanking out the screen. I’ve stuck some curtains up to make the room darker, but the light still gets through. John tells us that the life Jesus gives penetrates through the darkness of the world we live in, and the dark stuff in our own lives. Jesus came to give a life that is able to overcome the power of evil. To change us and keep us in this new life, no matter what may happen around us. Just as God’s word created all things, we can have the confidence that what Jesus says he does. Just a little later in Jn 1:12 we read this wonderful promise: "Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God."

Have a wonderful and fulfilling Christmas as you celebrate the birth of the Word who brings life and light.


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