Sunday, December 1
Three hundred years after Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection, Christian leaders faced a difficult decision. When should they celebrate Jesus’ birth? The exact date had long been lost to history and the Gospel accounts of it left them few clues as to the season of year when his birth took place. Knowing they would most certainly get the day wrong, these leaders chose perhaps the best, wrong answer in history. They chose to celebrate Jesus birth in December right around the winter solstice when the days where the shortest and the nights were the longest.
Most certainly, they picked the winter solstice to symbolize that in Jesus the light of the world came into the darkness and began to dispel the darkness (John 1:4-5) – just as after the winter solstice the light of day begins to last longer and the darkness of night becomes shorter and shorter. To say Jesus is the light of the world is to say that by knowing Jesus we come to see this world as it really is. Jesus helps us see the beauty and love in our world and the evil and pain. His life paints for us a dividing line between good and evil, true and false, love and hate.
And from the life of Jesus, who was present at creation and through whom all things came into being, we learn that the greatest good, deepest truth, and highest love comes from using our power to repay evil with good, speak truth when it would be easier to lie, and love even those who hate us. Every time we do these things, God uses our lives to make our world a little brighter.
Prayer: Gracious Lord, you are the light of the world. Through your light teach me see the world as it is and teach me to love others as they are. Let your light shine through me to brighten and bless the lives of your people.