A Passage and A Prayer 12/10/18

Again Jesus spoke to them, saying: “I am the light of the world.  Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”   John 8:12  (ESV)

Nearly everything reminds me of Jesus, even that silly song about Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer that I now can’t get out of my head.  Like Rudolph, Jesus was different – true God and true man, sinless.  Like Rudolph, Jesus was ridiculed and rejected.  “A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief,” Isaiah put it.  Like Rudolph, Jesus was the only one who could lead the way out of foggy darkness.  Any similarities end there.

Jesus is the Light of the world.  In a mythical world a nose like a red bulb might throw a little light amid darkness.  In the real world, Jesus IS the light that obliterates darkness.  You know about that darkness.  It sends a shiver of fear through you when you come face to face with very real evil.  It clouds your thinking when your faith is challenged by smug intellects and heart-wrenching experiences.  It buries you in guilt when you think about how far short of what God expects your life has been.  And then you see Jesus, who defeated Satan on the field of darkness so that evil cannot destroy us, who cut through phony arguments with clear truth and assured us that in the worst of times our God is still in control, who took our dark secrets and shameful sins to the cross in order to wipe them out of our account with God. 

Jesus is the Light of the world.  In a mythical world, Rudolph’s red nose points the way for other reindeer to follow.  In the real world, Jesus IS the way to follow.  You need that way to follow.  Entertainment media and social media suggest there are many ways – different moral lifestyles, alternate understandings of reality, other ways to God if he exists.  Smart people confuse you with questions and stump you with arguments, as though there is no way, just a lot of running around in circles.  Proverbs 14:12 reminds us: “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.”  Jesus clears away the darkness of doubt and confusion with the certainty of salvation by grace, consistent purpose and values for living, and the hope of everlasting joy with him at the end of the way.  He lights the way and he is the way.

There are a lot of Christmas myths, and the red-nosed reindeer is sort of endearing.  But you don’t live in a mythical world.  Jesus is your real Savior.  He was born in the real world to achieve real forgiveness.  When your face is red with embarrassment over your many failures, only the real red blood of Jesus will do.  Merry Christmas!

PRAYER (of St. Paul in Ephesians 1): “That the Father of glory may give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe.”  Amen.

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