B4 ADVENT - LIGHT
St. John 9.vv.1-12
~ As Jesus walked along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?". Jesus answered, "Neither this man nor his parents sinned; he was born blind so that God's works might be revealed in him. We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world". When he had said this, he spat on the ground and made mud with the saliva and spread the mud on the man's eyes, saying to him, "Go wash in the pool of Siloam" (which means Sent). Then he went and washed and came back able to see. The neighbours and those who had seen him before as a beggar began to ask, "Is this not the man who used to sit and beg?". Some were saying, "It is he". Others were saying, "No, but it is someone like him". He kept saying, "I am the man". But they kept asking him, "Then how were your eyes opened?". He answered, "The man called Jesus made mud, spread it on my eyes, and said to me, 'Go to Siloam and wash'. Then I went and washed and received my sight". They said to him, "Where is he?". He said, "I do not know". ~
"The light shines in the darkness"
Even the deepest darkness cannot extinguish the smallest light; in a lighthouse the darker the night, the brighter the beam!
In the autumn when the nights and mornings become darker we naturally think more about light and darkness, aware of the increased danger on the roads and of a little more "folding of the hands to sleep" instead of rising early.
From the Bible we derive fascinating insights on physical and spiritual light. Everywhere in the Old Testament light is associated with life, growth, health and goodness. Out of chaos and darkness came creation and order. In cloud and fire the Hebrews at the Exodus found their guide and protection. The Psalmist declares, "The Lord is my light and my salvation" and that "Deeds of darkness" are abhorrent to him. In the prophets we read of the "Day of the Lord" being a day of darkness not of light for his sinful people.
In the New Testament we read of Jesus saying, "I am the Light of the World"; the birth of Jesus took place in the dark night, but with the Incarnation the new light of life breaks in, destroying the grip of evil and chaos. The ministry of Christ dispels through his love the powers of darkness, ignorance, opposition and hatred. Truly the darkness of the crucifixion, both physical and spiritual, overwhelmed Jesus at Calvary, but this was the prelude to the light of Easter morn.
In our own lives we are acutely conscious of the spiritual darkness of our own and others' lives. There is much to depress us, unless we have faith in God's loving purposes for all those who love him; only a Christian or one who believes in God's over-ruling providence and love can be an optimist as we contemplate the violence, corruption, dangers, perplexity anxiety, and impurity in our own lives and the world around us. Jesus bids us shine as lights in this "naughty" world, but how can we do this? It is by faith and reflecting the light that stems from Christ that we can do this.
We ask for the light of Christ as we sing, "Lead kindly light amid the encircling gloom", but we need to open our lives and hearts to Jesus who says, "Behold I stand at the door and knock". Holman Hunt in his famous picture depicts Jesus with a lantern in his hand as he knocks for the door to be opened.
"Christ is the Morning Star, who when the night of this world is past brings to his saints the promise of the Light of Life and opens everlasting day".