I am preaching this Advent Season. I have been reflecting on Jesus coming as the “Light of the World.” I am visualizing the Light of Jesus as an Inner Light, that is, his presence in our hearts. My contention is that the darkness is increasing. In order to flourish, it will be imperative to know that the light within is greater than the outer darkness. John reminds us, “…the one who is in you is greater then the one who is in the world” ( I John 4:4).
Reality from a Biblical perspective can be divided into light and darkness. The first verses of Genesis portrays the earth as, “formless and empty, [while] darkness covered the surface of the watery depths.” Creation was in chaos, with no order or meaning. But, “the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters.” Hovering, “suggests that the Spirit of God was watching over his creation just as a bird watches over its young” (CSB study Bible). Into this chaos God spoke, “‘Let there be light,’ and there was light. God saw that the light was good.” The light brings order to both inner and outer chaos.
The life that Jesus offers us is light that could overcome the darkness. “What came into existence was Life, and the Life was Light to live by. The Life-Light blazed out of the darkness, the darkness couldn’t put it out’ ( John 1:4-5 – Message). Jesus promised that he would provide all the light needed. “I am the world’s Light. No one who follows me stumbles around in the darkness. I provide plenty of light to live in” ( John 8:12 – Message).
But the “Life-Light” will need to be more than a concept or image in our minds. We must open our hearts to allow the Light of Jesus’ presence to fill our inner life. “It started when God said, ‘Light up the darkness!’ and our lives filled up with light as we saw and understood God in the face of Christ, all bright and beautiful” ( II Cor 4:6). “It is not our movement toward God, but God’s movement to us. It is heaven interrupting our world….the descent of the divine light among human beings not only to shine on, to illuminate, to purify and to warm them, but through grace, to make them also shine with a light of this world” (Han van Balthasar).
I urge the men reading my blog during this Christmas season to take inventory of the inner light of Jesus’ presence. Only the presence of Jesus will be able to combat the influence of darkness in the days to come. John calls us to take inventory of our life. “If we claim that we experience a shared life with him and continue to stumble around in the dark, we’re obviously lying through our teeth – we’re not living what we claim. But if we walk in the light, God himself being the light, we also experience a shared life with one another, as the scarified blood of Jesus, God’s Son, purges all our sin” (I John 1:6-7 – Message).
Don’t allow yourself to be “addicted to denial and illusion,” caught in the shadows, but live in “truth and reality.” “God-light streamed into the world, but men and women everywhere ran for the darkness. They went for the darkness because they were not really interested in pleasing God. Everyone who makes a practice of doing evil, addicted to denial and illusion, hates God-light and won’t come near it, fearing a painful exposure. But anyone working and living in truth and reality welcomes God-light so the work can be seen for the God-work it is” (John 3:19-21 – Message).