As I prepare for the coming of Christmas I have been reflecting on John 1: 9-14:
9The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. 10He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him. 11He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him. 12But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, 13who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God. 14And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth.
The true light was coming and the Light’s own people did not recognize him. This is a serious check for us who consider ourselves followers of Jesus. Are there ways we ourselves are not recognizing the light which even now breaks into the world. This is the conviction that rests heavily on me now as I witness the sad state of the world around me. I wonder that I, like the people of Israel, am focusing so much on the hurts around me that I am missing the presence of Jesus. As I write this my daughter is working on her schoolwork, sent home for her to work on while she fights an e-coli infection. As I write this the news plays the latest tragedies in the world, and I am overwhelmed with my own senses of loss in terms of my relationship to the Church. I am missing Jesus because I am not looking for him, I am just looking for a way through. How often do I not take the time to look around me for the presence of the light, or only as a solution to the problems of the day?
But the Word became flesh and dwells among us, and longs for some time to be with us. As this season progresses and we move through times of hope and hopelessness, faith and doubt, joy and despair, peace and strife, let us resolve to stop and lean into the arms of the Light so that we might find the small hopes hiding in hopeless situations, the faith that only comes through expressed doubt, the joy that comes with light in the middle of dark despair, and the peace which surpasses understanding in times of strife. These come paradoxically, not because we work for them, but as gifts that flow from the presence of Jesus.
Lord, I come to you seeking the gift of your presence. Open my eyes to see where you are already at work around me and in me. Help me lean into and recognize your in-breaking light. Amen