“The Word gave life to everything that was created, and his life brought light to everyone. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it.”
For Christians, the Christmas season begins with the first Sunday of Advent, the start of the Christian New Year. On any other calendar there’s nothing particularly notable about that day. It doesn’t mark the solstice or some special phase of the moon. Rather, the Christian New Year begins on an obscure Sunday in early winter, when we rise in the dark, bathe in the dark, dress and eat in the gloom of a gray dawn. It comes at a time when the western world braces itself for a descent into the unlit, low-ceilinged root-cellar of the year. We light a candle, peer into the hushed and cobwebbed darkness, step over the dusty detritus of old harvests. It will only get darker from here.
Perhaps that’s why, of all the liturgical seasons, Advent was one of the last to be developed by the early church. Before Advent, before even Christmas, as early as the third century Christians were celebrating the Epiphany—or the “day of manifestations”—on or around January 6. In secular contexts, an epiphany heralded the birth or visit of a king; in pagan religious contexts, the appearance of the gods. For Christians, it spoke not only of the coming of foreign dignitaries who followed the light of an unusual star to the birthplace of an unusual king, but the revealing of Jesus at his Nativity, his baptism, and his first miracle in the wedding at Cana.
Even before Advent was invented, stories of Jesus were like stair-steps up and out of the cellar of human despair. Light upon light, story upon story, manifesting the true nature of this God-man to the world. This is the story we’re invited to join right now, two millennia later, as bearers of Christ’s light.
As you reread John 1:4–5, light and hold a candle. Watch the flames; feel the warmth. What would it take for you to hold and keep the light of Jesus?
Source : Beautiful Word.