The Light of Christ
Pastor Rich Knight
Central Congregational Church, UCC
John 1:1-18 (selected verses)
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 all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world . . . To all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God – born not of natural descent . . . but born of God.
The Word became flesh and dwelt among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the only begotten Son of the Father; full of grace and truth.
From his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. The law indeed was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God. It is the only Son, himself God, who is close to the Father’s heart, who has made him known.
I have a brief message to share on the Light of Christ.
Some of you may have heard the story about the little girl whose family had a newborn baby. The girl was fascinated with her baby brother and very willingly helped to care for him. One day she made a special request of her parents. She wanted some time alone with the baby. They hesitated at first, not understanding why she wanted this time. Eventually they agreed, but they cracked the door and looked in to watch. What they saw was this – the little girl walked up to the crib, got up close to her brother and said, “Tell me about God, because I’m starting to forget.”
I think one of the main reasons for Christmas is so that we never forget – so that we never forget all we have in Jesus Christ.
One of the most beautiful things we have to help us remember is our Candlelighting ceremony. It helps us remember and re-experience the heart of the Christian life. We receive our Light from Christ. – all our candles will be lit from the Christ Candle – just like Jesus Christ shares his Light with us.
“Light and Life to all he brings,” says the carol.
John’s Gospel says Jesus brings us Light.
The true light, which enlightens everyone was coming into the world.
The Apostle Peter wrote that God calls us into his marvelous Light. (I Peter 2:9)
Christ’s Light enlightens us in many ways.
- For instance, his Light provides wisdom for the journey, a path for us to walk. It’s like how a flashlight helps you find your way in the dark. Jesus’ Light helps us find our way. For instance, he helps us walk in love, even loving those who might seem different from us, or have opposing opinions, He leads us to
- grace-filled living, & faith-filled living – trusting God,
- prayer-filled lives, generous lives,
- lives committed to justice & lifting up the oppressed, inviting in the outcasts.
- Most of all he calls us to love. – and since his Light is filled with love, we’re inspired to do the same.
Christ’s Light shows us the way.
2. Secondly, Christ’s Light is Divine. He shares Divinity with us. He brings our spirits alive with his divine light. His Light gives us a connection to God that is precious and powerful.
Here’s one way to think about who Jesus Christ is. Maybe you’ve been in a cave with Stalactites and Stalagmites. Stalactites are those things that hang down from ceiling of the cave. They look like huge icicles with pointed ends.
Stalagmites rise up from the floor of the cave. They more rounded at the top.
Once in a while, a stalactite and a stalagmite meet and merge. When they do it’s called a column, stretching from floor to ceiling.
I look at Jesus Christ like a perfect column, uniting heaven and earth.
He’s like a stalactite, the Eternal Christ come from heaven.
But he’s also like a stalagmite, born of this earth, Jesus of Bethlehem, raised as a child in Nazareth, becomes a man working in his father’s carpentry business.
The two natures meet in one perfect column
– fully God, fully human who unites us with heaven.
That’s what his Light does. – reconciles us to God.
It gives us a relationship with the God of Heaven.
His Light is God’s presence, power, and peace shared with us.
3. Most of all, his Light is the Love of God, shared with us.
“As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you.”
His Light is Love – God’s Love for you.
It’s “Love’s Pure Light.”
I’ll close with this story, told to me by a friend of mine.
My friend had just given birth to her firstborn child, and her parents of course came to visit. The most common activity during the visit was simply staring at this beautiful child. My friend said to her parents, “It’s just amazing how much I love him. The love is so deep, so strong, so pure.” To which her mother responded, “Dear, that’s how much your father and I love you.”
She’d never thought about how deeply she was loved.
I hope you’ve thought about that – how much you’re loved by God.
You’re loved deeply by God.
You’re loved unconditionally by God.
You’re loved with a love that will never let you go.
“As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you.”
Receive that love tonight, as you receive the Light of Christ.