True Light?

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As I sit and write, across different European nations there are debates about the best way forward in relation to high levels of covid infections. What is the light for the way ahead?Just recently of course there has been Cop26 in Glasgow and debates about how to respond meaningfully about climate change. Again what is the light to show the way for the years to come?

We are about to enter the short season of Advent – the four weeks that run up to Christmas. Advent means ‘coming’ and is a time where Christians all over the world remember afresh the mystery of God becoming human in Jesus. In ICL for the coming weeks we will look at different aspects about Jesus and Advent and is there any relevance for now?

John at the beginning of his Gospel account does not focus on the detail of Christ’s birth nor is there any mention of shepherds, angels or magi. Instead he seeks to paint a broad picture about Jesus and his coming into the world. At one stage he writes,“The true light that gives light to every person was coming into the world”John 1:9 New International Version

True light – what does that mean do you think?

Back in 1995, Joan Osborne released a song, “One of us”. It begins with these lyrics:If God had a name what would it be? And would you call it to his face?
If you were faced with Him in all His glory, what would you ask if you had just one question?

Songwriter: Eric Bazilian One of Us lyrics © Warner Chappell Music, Inc

John in his gospel like the other Gospel writers seeks to show that God in his glory was revealed in Jesus, ‘the true light’:“The Word became flesh and lived for a while among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son who came from the Father, full of grace and truth” John 1:14, New International Version.

There is a lot to take in from just that one verse. It includes that God was not detached from His world. He came and lived among people in real time on this planet. God’s glory no longer something abstract or unapproachable but actually seen through real flesh and bones. In Jesus, grace (unearnable favour) and truth coming together.

To come back to mentioning climate change concerns or what happens next with covid measures, I am not wishing to suggest there are simple answers. Nor in pointing to the apostle John declaring that Jesus is the ‘true light’, am I suggesting ‘trust Jesus’ as some kind of magic fix for the world. It isn’t. Yet I believe that Advent gives hope for humanity, points to One beyond our own successes and struggles alike, who understands experientially the human condition. One whom we can all look to.

If Jesus is the ‘true light’, to quote from the song, then this Advent, “what would you ask if you had just one question?