The Better Light of Christmas

AdventThumbs13Advent Day 13

by John F. Klem

The glory of Christ is displayed for us in John 1:1–5. In these opening verses, John, the gospel writer, presents Christ to us as an eternal person (vv. 1, 2), the creator of all things (v. 3), the source of all light and life (v. 4), and the light for our darkness (v. 5). For this Advent meditation I want to direct your attention to the theme of light associated with the person of Christ.

Light is a distinctive characteristic of our eternal God. It is a symbol for Him and specifically represents the Messiah. In his first epistle, John declares that God is light and that there is no darkness in Him at all (1 John 1:5). In the Old Testament, Isaiah refers to the Lord as our everlasting light (Isaiah 60:19). When we look into the prophecy of Isaiah, we read that the people who walked in darkness have seen a great light (Isaiah 9:6).

The brilliance of the light theme is spotlighted in John 1:4 and 5. John asserts that the Lord Jesus Christ is the source of all light and life. The reference to life includes physical (5:25; 11:25) as well as spiritual life (14:6). John presents the life associated with Christ both in terms of its quality and quantity. In Christ there is life—specifically, eternal life. The self-existing life in Christ is presented to us as light.

The life in the eternal Christ is the light of man. He is the convincing light of eternal life for sinful man. John makes much of this in his gospel. In 8:12, he records the confession of Jesus, “I am the light of the world.” In 9:5, he writes that Christ is the light who brought light to the world in His incarnation. Finally, in 12:49, he again records the words of Christ: “I have come as a light into the world; whoever believes in me will not abide in darkness.”

Does the presence of light and life make Jesus God? Yes! In Psalm 36:9 we learn that God is the ultimate source of light and life. These statements in John 1:4 and 5 are an affirmation of Christ’s deity.

As we move into verse 5, we read that the Lord Jesus Christ is the light for our darkness. In other words, Christ is the light that illuminates the spiritual darkness of man. What is the darkness of man? I believe it is the realm of spiritual evil, the satanic world system opposed to God and His people. Later John makes it clear that Christ, Who is light and life, is opposed by the darkness (John 12:35).

The sobering realization of 1:5 is that life apart from Christ is viewed and understood as darkness. This is a consistent theme of the Scriptures. In fact, people love the darkness (John 3:19). Because of this, God commissions servants like Paul, calling them out of darkness into light (Acts 26:12, 18). Our testimony is truly a celebration that once we were in darkness, but now we are in light (Ephesians 5:8, 11; 6:12).

In all this there is a sweet assurance. Darkness has not and will not overtake (understand) the light. In the spiritual conflict between light and darkness, darkness cannot put out the light. Love the darkness all you want, but it will not burn out the light. In Genesis 3, sin attempted to take over the light, but it failed. In the history of redemption, Christ was victorious in His mission to defeat sin and death. Christ brought spiritual light to the unbelieving world.

The lights of Christmas are all around us. We certainly love and enjoy them, but they have only a seasonal benefit. The true light, the Lord Jesus Christ, lights our darkness and brings us into a personal forever relationship with Him. For this we adore Christ, the light of the world!

John F. Klem is director of Regular Baptist Press.

Regular Baptist Press is committed to providing educational resources that point people of all ages to Christ not just at Christmas, but throughout the year. RBP offers a wide range of curriculum, VBS programs, Bible studies, books, and training seminars that are Biblically sound, cover the entirety of Scripture, and designed for spiritual growth.

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