“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.” — John 1:4-5, New Living Translation
“The people who walk in darkness
will see a great light.
For those who live in a land of deep darkness,
a light will shine.” — Isaiah 9:2, New Living Translation
Today’s Reading: John 1:1-13
Listen to today's reading on her.BIBLE®
“I can’t see a thing,” said my husband, driving through a pitch black Italian countryside. We were on our honeymoon, and like any blissful newlyweds lost in conversation, we’d taken a wrong turn. The peaceful rolling hills, once illuminated by welcoming streetlights, were getting smaller in our rearview mirror. And before we knew it, our calm, leisurely outing turned into stress and silence.
If you’ve ever driven or walked down a road like this, you know this feeling all too well. The never-ending darkness around you can feel overwhelming and intrusive, like it’s pressing in on you. The only thing to do is blast your brights and hope they shine enough to bring you home.
The experience of God’s people has always been one of longing and looking for light to lead them where they should go.
At the beginning of time, God created light. Not only did He create light, He is light. But it wasn’t long before Adam and Eve chose to sin and disobey God. And it changed everything. Instead of basking in the light, sin made them want to hide. The goodness of living in relationship with God was broken, and humans became intertwined with darkness, craving the way it helped them disappear.
Thankfully, that wasn’t the end of the story.
In the Old Testament, God regularly acts by means of His “Word.” Simply put, what He says happens. Seven hundred years before Jesus was born, God gave the prophet Isaiah the promise of a Messiah who would be a light for all nations, guiding them back to a restored relationship with Him. As a “pillar of fire” (Exodus 13:21) led the Israelites through the desert at night, so a Savior was coming to lead the world out of death. The Savior would be the ultimate “light at the end of the tunnel.”
Today, you benefit from not being left on a cliffhanger. John writes that the Word — Jesus — became human and made His home among us. Two thousand years ago, darkness was broken with a baby's cry in a lowly stable, and light filled every crack and crevice.
If you follow Jesus, you know that God has come and will come again. But you also still live in a world where evil is present. You experience suffering through disease and death, broken relationships, and injustice or abuses of power.
But God is bringing forth a new creation, in which He says once more, as He did with creation, “Let there be light!”
During this Advent season, you are likely longing for some sort of flicker at the end of your tunnel. Whether it be a strained friendship or marriage, an unexpected job loss or a season that feels riddled with responsibility and no rest in sight — life has no shortage of longing for better days.
But in the groans, John’s words sum up the season of Advent and give hope to a yearning world: “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” (John 1:5, English Standard Version).
We can be truly glad. The light has come. There is wonderful joy ahead.
What longing can you invite Jesus into today?
Where are you experiencing darkness in your life, your relationships or your community? Where do you need Jesus’ light to break through?
Jesus, You are the true light of the world. Help us see that the same light that came into the world 2,000 years ago still shines in and through us today. When we despair, give us hope. And where there is darkness, lead us to light.
Feeling lonely, low or even depressed during this holiday season? Author and pastor Dane Ortlund shares more about hope with FamilyLife’s Real Life Loading… podcast host Shelby Abbott.
Michelle LeMaster serves as a journalist for Cru®. As a born and bred lover of cities, Michelle currently resides in New York City with her husband, Seth, and their goldendoodle, Ruby, who daily reminds her to (literally) stop and smell the roses.
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