There are two things in this world that share a common shroud of mystery. Both are ubiquitous in the human experience. Both would seem to be fundamental to existence. And both are extremely difficult, if not impossible, to truly define. The two enigmas are Love and Light.

C.S. Lewis wrote an intriguing short story called “The Man Born Blind” in which we find a man who has been given sight through advances in modern medicine. An ongoing struggle and frustration that the man experiences in coming to sight is finding and truly seeing the thing he has spent his whole life hearing about but never seen: light. Despite his earnest asking and searching, no one can show him light. He sees the sun and light bulbs but no one can show him light. It’s everywhere and yet seemingly impossible to grasp.

Love, it seems, has experienced a similar mysterious relationship with man. The poets wax eloquent, the philosophers and theologians define, the ethicists debate, and all the while, like light, we virtually swim in it all day with no way to really capture or understand it.

Another thing these two things share in common is that in revealed Scripture (actually within the span of 3 chapters in the first epistle of John), we are told that God is Light and Love. Not that God creates light. Not that God loves.

God is light. God is love.

He is the One who has spoken all that is, and so the speaking is the ground of being, of all that is. Of course, in our sin we deny the light, we ignore the love, and in so doing we sever ourselves from reality. We walk in darkness and ignorance. We speak the word “love” but when it comes down to it, do we really know what we’re saying?

In the midst of the darkness, a light shines. It is no coincidence that Christmas is celebrated each year around the time of the winter solstice, the longest night of the year. In the darkest time of the year, a new church year begins. The Light is born, and it begins to grow and to grow and to grow. It will continue to grow, we are told by the same Scriptures, until one day, when the New Heavens and the New Earth are inaugurated. There will be no more need for moon or sun, because the Lamb is the Lamp that lights the universe. No more shadows.

That same permeation will be experienced in love, the greatest of these. The love shines in the darkness, and the darkness does not comprehend it. It casts out all fear, and when we see through the glass clearly, and we know as we are known, what we will know…what will be known by all…is love. For love is the light, and the Light of the World is Love.

And as we move along, we find that Paul’s prayer for the Philippians (1:9 – 11) echoes to us thousands of years later. He prays that our love will abound (that is grow and grow and grow) in knowledge and discernment (that is knowing more and more in order to love more and more) until one day, the knowledge of the Lord will cover the earth as the waters cover the seas (Habakkuk 2:14).

Hallelujah. Even so, come Lord Jesus.

Table Talk

Around the dinner table, talk about what you think a world made right and true and good will look like. What do you think it will be like when there is no more “dying, or mourning, or crying, or pain”? What will work and play and art and music, etc. look like or be like?

Advent Readings for Week 2

Sunday, December 7 Romans 15:4 – 13
Monday, December 8 Psalm 43:3 – 6
Tuesday, December 9 Psalm 27:1 – 4
Wednesday, December 10 Psalm 119:105 – 106
Thursday, December 11 John 12:35 – 36
Friday, December 12 Ephesians 5:6 – 14
Saturday, December 13 1 Peter 2:5 – 9