Readings for the Christmas Season
The tenth day of Christmas
Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.” John 8:12
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“I am the light of the world.”
So what shall we imagine? Is Jesus the light of a flashlight guiding our steps as we walk through a campground late at night? Is he the lantern shining upon the picnic table and surrounding tents that creates a welcoming space in the darkness of the night? Or is he the light that fills the world, marking the difference between night and day?
There is something sweet and profound about the first two of these. The images are personal, intimate, comforting. But the world of Jesus has no Coleman lanterns, no battery powered headlamps to light your way. There are only the dimly burning wicks of oil lamps. Our gospel writer, John, who ponders so deeply upon the wonder and mystery that is Christ Jesus, has in mind the daylight that surrounds us.
John the baptizer is described as a “shining lamp”, but Jesus is “the light of the world.” This phrase shows up about Jesus several times, but also once when Jesus says: “Are there not twelve hours of daylight? Those who walk during the day do not stumble, because they see the light of this world.”
Jesus is the daylight of the world. In Christ we are not peering at shadows in the night as we walk in some small, illumined patch; we are living in the full light of day. The heart of God is known to us. The triumph of grace and life is clear. The call to love one another is visible. The breath of the Spirit is blowing. We are summoned forth like Lazarus from the realm of shadows into a divine living that endures forever.
Yes, Christ lightens our path in those times that seem dark. And, yes, wonderfully, Christ creates a safe space in a world too often harsh and ugly. But we are invited to live in the daylight that is Christ Jesus, to dwell in the radiance of divine mercy and grace – and to walk as children of that light.