In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters. Then God said, ‘Let there be light’; and there was light.
This is how it begins..how everything begins. The God of the universe…the God of all being and existence…speaks a world into being. Speaks the intricacies of atoms and quantum particles and galaxies and biology and all that has evolved into being. The Word of God is God’s intent and purpose and design for the cosmos…and we see that design and purpose in all the wonders of space and it’s infinite reaches. We see it in the wonder of tiny hummingbirds and unchanging primordial komodo dragons. We see that beautiful design and purpose of God in the delicate petals of flower and the amazing miracle of birth. God’s word…incarnate.
John’s Christmas story…is about the design and purpose of God…the Word of God that is the beating heart of all creation….John says this…this is what we see and hear and know in Jesus. Jesus is the beating heart of all creation.
So often we wonder — What’s it all about? What is the meaning of all of this life? And John says…look. Look at Jesus. That’s it. That’s what it’s all about. As we read more of John, he will invite us again and again to come and see. Come and see. Because, he believes that when you see Jesus…when you really SEE him…you’ll get it.
Wondering what the purpose and meaning of life is…is not a new pastime for our day and age. From the dawn of self-reflection, humans have wondered the “why” of our existence. Particularly when life is hard. When times are dark. When life is nasy, brutish and short. When evil persists. When pandemics and plagues cancel our dreams and grief breaks our hearts. History will tell us that this has been our human story since the beginning….darkness has surrounded us, and sometimes that darkness has crept deep within us and made us wonder ‘why”. What’s the point? Is there a point?
And John says yes….and he points his finger to this one human….this one man, born a baby in poverty to an unwed mother…grown up in the middle of nowhere…and says…this is God’s point. This is God incarnate. This is the light. The light that reveals God’s love. This is the light in our darkness…the light of God’s own son, close to the Father’s heart. This one makes God known to us.
And what does Jesus make known? Grace and Truth.
When the darkness is overwhelming on these long, long nights…Jesus comes to reveal amazing, astonishing grace. Undeserved grace. Grace upon grace. The grace of a cosmos made simply for God’s delight and wonder. The grace of love…the love of a refugee parent that impels them to risk everything for the sake of their children…and the love of a beloved that sees us as beautiful when we feel ugly. The grace of love that gives us new beginnings, another new day, after a day that felt like the end of everything.
In Jewish tradition, there is a whole slew of stories called “midrash” which expound on the Old Testament Scriptures. One midrash is about Adam. After he and Eve had disobeyed God, and the sun went down…Adam thought it was the end of the world. And so as the sun went down, he and Eve found a place to lie down, letting the darkness overcome them…thinking everything was over. But then, amazingly, the sun came up again. And they were given another day. And in that moment, Adam realized that nothing he did was so bad that it could stop the sun. Their failure was not the end of the world. God’s grace and love continued….life continued. They got to begin again.
Jesus comes to show us …to live out for us…that truth…that grace. That nothing we do…nothing that happens to us…is the end of the world. We get to begin again. When the darkness surrounds us and creeps inside us…Jesus comes to be the light in our darkness. A light of hope. A light of peace. A light of joy. A light of love.
You are beautiful. Life is beautiful. The galaxies and atoms are beautiful. And all of it…all of it…is awash in God’s love. And this is the Word of God. The purpose and meaning of God from the very beginning. This is what Jesus lives out for us. Reveals for us. May that Light shine in your darkness this day. Amen.