He Will Bring us Goodness and Light
At this Christmas season, we read and sing about the “light” coming into the “darkness” of the world with the birth of Jesus. The popular song asks, “Do you see what I see? Do you hear what I hear? Do you know what I know?” The final chorus answers by pointing to Jesus who brings light: “The Child, the Child, sleeping in the night; He will bring us goodness and light.”
This song could well be a contemporary reflection on the way John speaks about his relationship with Jesus in the letter he wrote called 1 John. “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life— the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us— that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us…This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.” (1 John 1:1–5, ESV)
When John talks about Jesus, he wants us to know that he is not making something up from his imagination, representing some kind of magical thinking, or simply wishing upon that twinkling star in the sky. No, he is reporting what he has experienced of Jesus with all his senses: I saw him, I heard him, I embraced him. We ate together, walked together, slept together on journeys of many, many miles over a three-year period.
This Christmas season, we are asking the question: What does it look like for us to see, hear, and touch Jesus in our own lives today? Or, to use John’s language of light and dark, what does it look like when light comes into the darkness of our lives? John, himself, gives us the answer to these questions in the rest of his letter. Take some time to reflect on these verses:
When the light of Jesus comes into our lives, the darkness of loneliness is replaced by the light of friendship with God and with others: “We proclaim to you what we ourselves have actually seen and heard so that you may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ…But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin.” (1 John 1:3,7)
When the light of Jesus comes into our lives, the darkness of hate is replaced by the light of love. “Dear friends, I am not writing a new commandment for you; rather it is an old one you have had from the very beginning. This old commandment—to love one another—is the same message you heard before. Yet it is also new. Jesus lived the truth of this commandment, and you also are living it. For the darkness is disappearing, and the true light is already shining. If anyone claims, “I am living in the light,” but hates a fellow believer, that person is still living in darkness.” (1 John 2:7–9, NLT)
When the light of Jesus comes into our lives, the darkness of lies is replaced by the light of truth. “But you are not like that, for the Holy One has given you his Spirit, and all of you know the truth. So I am writing to you not because you don’t know the truth but because you know the difference between truth and lies.” (1 John 2:20–21, NLT)
When the light of Jesus comes into our lives, the darkness of bondage to sin is replaced by the light of freedom. “Everyone who sins is breaking God’s law, for all sin is contrary to the law of God. And you know that Jesus came to take away our sins, and there is no sin in him.” (1 John 3:4–5, NLT)
What beautiful gifts to receive this Christmas season, gifts that come with the light of Jesus in our lives: friendship with God and others replacing loneliness; love replacing anger, bitterness, unforgiveness and hatred; truth replacing lies, manipulation, and deceit; freedom and joy replacing sin. May you see, hear, touch and know these gifts that come with the light of Jesus!