And while they were there, the time came for her baby to be born. She gave birth to her first child, a son. She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no lodging available for them. ~Luke 2:6-7 In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, And the Word was God. He existed in the beginning with God. God created everything through him, and nothing was created except through him. The Word gave life to everything that was created, and his life brought light to everyone. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it.
God sent a man, John the Baptist, to tell about the light so that everyone might believe because of his testimony. John himself was not the light; he was simply a witness to tell about the light. The one who is the true light, who gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. He came into the very world he created, but the world didn’t recognize him. He came to his own people, and they rejected him. But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God. They are reborn~not with a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan, but a birth that comes from God. So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son. John testified about him when he shouted to the crowds, “This is the one I was talking about when I said, ‘Someone is coming after me who is far greater than I am, for he existed long before me.'” From his abundance we have all received one gracious blessing after another. For the law was given through Moses, but God’s unfailing love and faithfulness came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God. But the unique One, who is himself God, is near to the Father’s heart. He has revealed God to us. ~John 1:1-18
CONSIDER:I love Christmas lights! Living in Florida for my entire life, Christmas lights served as the marking of the Christmas season. No frosted window panes. No icicles. No warm, woolen mittens. No sleigh rides. No snow angels~no snow~just beautiful, twinkling Christmas lights. When my children were little, we would drive all around the city searching for the best Christmas light displays and then “ooh” and “ahh” at what we found. Christmas lights always helped prepare me for the Christmas season~except when they didn’t work. Searching for the one faulty bulb that disables an entire strand of lights tends to damper my Christmas spirit… Right now, there is a small section of lights at the very top of my pre-lit Christmas tree that is not working. Every time I look at it, I am reminded that something is missing. There is darkness where I want there to be light. Something was missing in the world before Jesus’ birth as well. Mankind was lost in the darkness of sin. But because of His unfathomable love, God sent His light, Jesus, into the world.
The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it. ~John 1:5Unlike the Christmas lights I enjoy, Jesus’ light never dims, burns out or goes away. Nothing can extinguish His light! Nothing can change God’s love for us! His light and love pierce even through the darkness of sin and death. It shines into every dark place in my life and exposes them to His healing mercy and grace.
And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord. ~Romans 8:38-39As I look at that dark spot on my Christmas tree, it reminds me that like my tree, my heart contains dark places that I attempt to hide. But those dark places do not stop God’s love for me. He knows all about them and gives me the gift of Jesus even though I don’t deserve Him. And when I allow Jesus access, He exposes all of those dark places to His glorious light and the ugliness that used to live there is transformed by His wondrous grace and mercy. When illuminated by the light of His love, true healing begins and I never again want to hide in the dark. Instead, I want to raise my arms and lift my face to the heavens and bask in the warmth of His marvelous light! This Christmas allow God’s love to shine into your life. Choose to bring your disappointments to the manger and exchange them for the hope found in Jesus. Let’s not be distracted, rather let’s rejoice in God’s great gift of love to us.
PRAY:Dear Lord~You are wonderful! Your glorious light pierces through the darkness of our deepest pain, providing cleansing and beautiful healing. I welcome you into every part of my heart. Light up the darkness with your unfailing love and restore my soul! In Jesus’ precious name I pray…Amen!
Michele is married to the love of her life, Jeff. She has 3 grown children and 1 very sweet grandson! Most days you can find Michele laughing with good friends, writing, or working with women. In the evenings she enjoys spending time in a few creative outlets like creative lettering, drawing, painting, and pottery. She loves snuggling with her dog, Tebow, and reading. But one of her favorite passions is playing with her grandson and laughing at his bright smile! You can find her most weekends worshiping at our Real Life Clermont campus.