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Tavern Talk #38: The Light of the World

The Light of the World

Advent and Christmas are full of symbols and imagery – trees, wreaths, presents, bells, candles, and lights.

For something different this year, read the first chapter of John instead of the usual Christmas story in Luke. Rather than the traditional story (which is full of symbolism and imagery), John puts the birth of Jesus into the context and meaning of Jesus’ life.

There are two big roles that Jesus (who is not named) takes in the first chapter of John – as the Word and as light.

In this context, the Word is something much broader than the meaning we ascribe to it today. The original Greek was logos, which is more akin to wisdom, life meaning - the reason or answer. God is the answer to what would otherwise be chaos. And Jesus Christ has been a part of that forever. Being born as an infant living here on Earth as a man, that Word became flesh. - Christmas.

John also refers to Jesus Christ as the light. At the time of its writing, the only means of light was from the heavens (the Sun, the moon, and the stars) and from fire. Light provided or allowed for life. While they didn’t understand why, they certainly knew that plants didn’t grow in the dark. Light played an important role in Biblical history and played a big part in worship traditions. Darkness was scary. It represented the unknown and chaos. Light provided meaning and understanding.

This season, we see lights everywhere – trees, houses, wreaths, and even cars. We also see a proliferation of lighted candles. Notice them. Think about Jesus Christ not just as the light of the world, but the light in your life, giving warmth, meaning, and life to what would otherwise be chaos. And let those lights inspire and encourage you to be a light for someone else, spreading that same joy, peace, and truth.

Additional reading:

John 1:1-18

Luke 2:1-20


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