Monday, December 17, 2007

Jesus - The Light of Christmas to the entire world

“After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him.””
Mathew 2:1

Mathew 5:14-15
You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Niether do people light a lamp under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine about before men, that they may see you good deeds and praise your father in heaven.”

John 1:1-4
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light of the shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it”

“Light of the World You stepped down into the darkness”
- Tim Hughes. Here I am to Worship

Since yesterday the image of light in the story of Christmas has been challenging me – it felt like one of those weird epiphanies – all the things of the Christian message, and the Christmas story finding new meaning in that moment as I meditated on the story of Christmas. Light is a powerful and important image for the Christian faith.

The importance of light to life has been shown to me in the past when I have gone to tramps or camped out in the dark. I remember one of those tramps that I went on we were travelling back to the campsite, we were going down a steep dangerous area at about nine o’clock at night and it was quite dark. I had the only light of the group and a number within the group were relying on the guidance of the light I had to guide them to safety and to the camp site we were going to. Or light to get from your cabin to the bathroom in the middle of night. The use of light is essential for direction and guidance, otherwise we are blind, we stumble and in the dangerous places – such as the New Zealand bush, we put ourselves at danger of falling off a cliff because of our actions.

The light of the nativity story was similar to this, these men from the Orient (the Persian empire?) travelled to after the light to find the Messiah of the whole world, who would save Israel and the whole world from their plight by his coming into the world. They relied on the light to guide them and bring them to the place that Jesus would be born, the small Nazarene town of Bethlehem, so they could worship Jesus and proclaim him as Messiah.

Last night, Phil Crawford, a friend and leader within Mosaic pressed us to be “pregnant” with the message of Christ. To know in some way we carry the image of Christ – no we carry to spirit of Christ with us wherever we go. For me this essentially means to spend more time meditating on the message of the gospels, to continue wrestling with the stunning and powerful truths of the gospel, the meaning of these stories. That God would come into our existence as a vulnerable baby, into the hands of two poor scared teenagers, and come to redeem his people from sin, from the religious systems that we have created that impede a true relationship with the father, from our brokenness and pain. To show us a new way to be human and lead us back to the original plan for humanity – to glorify Gods through all our lives – to use our all – our intellect, creativity, our friendships, etc to the glory of our Lord and saviour, to enjoy him passionately.

As Christians, we are lights, we are to guide people to the LIGHT – Jesus. To me the image of a guide is summed up in the story of The Lord of the Rings in which Gandalf guides the hobbits through the dark of Mordor, and through the scary places, through danger and despair. He guides them and shows them their purpose, to defeat the evil of suron and bring hope back to middle earth.

In our lives we can have the assurance that during our hardship, that the light of Christ – the hope of the light of Christ will be with us, giving us strength and guidance and bringing us through the hard times. I know how it is to be through the hard stuff, I have felt pain personally with massive grief over losing a close family member. The pain and despair was and is deep. I have been unhappy at God, even angry at him for this. Luckily due to the grace of God I had family who could guide me to the loving arms of my saviour of show me the light and hope of Jesus during these hard moments. I love the comfort and the love that is given by my Lord and saviour. This love, comfort, hope and friendship I want to be willing to show to those who are lost and do not know who he is. Personally, I really do not want to hide the light beneath a bushel. I want to share it with all I come across.

This means I have to be a comfort to those who need comfort during this Christmas time, those who are going through hard times need to be cared for in ways that are responsive to their needs. It means I need to give to the needy. It means I need to be a partner of the journey of the many who are seeking after finding God. It means I need to coffee with those who are lost sharing myself with them in the place that they are, being a friend with no ulterior motive other that to just love them and be Christ in the situation that I am, shining the fragrance of Jesus, sharing Jesus personally through how I live, but also by the words I proclaim into those around me.

I want to be a light during this Christmas time, a light of hope to those around me, a light showing people to Jesus, a light of love to those who need love, a light of comfort to those morning, a light that shines through the darkness that we all face showing the way to the saving arms of a loving and all powerful saviour and God.

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