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Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Christmas wreath
Wreath in front of our home.

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"The Light Has Come"

"This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil" (John 3:19).

We have some beautiful Christmas light displays in our area as I am sure many readers do. We have elaborate formal displays such as Hershey Sweet Lights.  There are many homes, trees and shrubbery intricately decorated.  An entire dairy farm along Route 283, the four lane highway from Lancaster to Harrisburg, is lit up to look like a miniature Christmas village.  We look forward to seeing it each time we drive to church in the evening hours. One of our favorite sites is seeing the star of Bethlehem lit up on top of silos – you can see them from a long distance off.

At Christmas we also have all types of lights around our house. Brooksyne really likes to decorate, although she's scaled back over the years. Besides the lighted Christmas tree we have lighted wreaths, various lighted figurines, window candles and many scented Christmas candles.

Light has long been a symbolic theme of the Christmas season based upon various Biblical texts. Yesterday's daily text read, "That life was the light of men" regarding Christ's appearance.  Today's text states that, "Light has come into the world."

A battle has long been raging and continues to do so even more furiously it seems. The Bible fundamentally teaches that:
1) The Almighty God is the Creator, Ruler, Redeemer and Judge over the entire universe.
2) He has revealed His will for man through His Word. 
3) He has established non-arbitrary laws governing the conduct of His creation. 

By contrast the secular humanist worldview that dominates in the west fundamentally asserts that:
1) God is merely a religious figment or whatever one wants to believe, if anything.
2) The Bible is, at best, just a collection of good stories (sometimes handy to make political points), but certainly not the rule of authority in our lives.
3) The rule of the Bible and its laws are merely arbitrary and subjective, requiring ongoing revision by the whims of man. 

We see this ancient battle between these two opposing worldviews rising to a fevered pitch.  Our world is in desperate need of true heaven-sent revival! The daily verse is so powerful and illuminating.  "Light has come into the world."  The Greek has the definite article "the" before light and I believe this is significant.  In the Gospel and Epistles of John "the light" is Jesus Christ (see John 1:4-9; 8:12: 9:5; 12:46; 1 John 1:5).  In Christ's incarnation indeed the light came into the world.

But men loved the darkness instead of the light.  Again we have the definite article in the Greek prior to both light and darkness.  This is a matter of fact statement that explains much about human nature and conditions in our fallen world. Because we are created with a free will many have chosen to walk in darkness and reject the light of Christ.

We who live in the glorious light of Jesus Christ marvel that anyone would choose to be a companion of darkness but they do "because their deeds were [are] evil." The text continues, "Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed" (John 3:20).  If they come into the light they must deal with their evil deeds.  They must confess and repent as have all true children of God.

This season as we celebrate the glorious birth of Jesus Christ, our Redeemer, may we truly love the light rather than the darkness. We no longer keep our sin "under wrap" hidden in darkness, but we have exposed it by confessing it to Jesus. May we be among those who have believed the truth concerning Jesus Christ,  "But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God" (John 3:21).

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: Jesus, as I live by the truth of Your radiant light I am reminded again of the spiritual transformation that took place when You uprooted my human nature and replaced it with Your divine nature.  Now my roots grow deep into the light of Your Gospel causing me to draw up nourishment from You so that I grow in faith, becoming strong and vigorous in this glorious new life. Thank You for canceling my sin debt when You were nailed to the cross on my behalf.  I'm forever grateful that You came to seek me out and save me when I was lost in sin.  I am so glad to be walking in the light of truth.  Shine, Jesus, shine through me.  Amen.

I have written several times concerning Bob, a man in the church we presently serve in an interim (temporary) basis. Bob passed away last week and his funeral is today. He accepted Jesus when he was 70 years of age and spent the remaining 12 years of his life as a faithful servant of Christ.  He demonstrated God's grace to the end of his earthly life and we know he is now "home with the Lord."  Here are the messages I wrote concerning our ministry to him:
Message 1
Message 2

"Arise, Shine" is a song from "The Gift" a Graham Kendrick Christmas musical that goes well with today's message. (audio file)
Graham Kendrick is a British musician that has an outstanding assortment of his song clips available on his website.  Our favorite and we are so blessed by this live type recording with narration is "Amazing Love" which has a tremendous incarnation message as well.

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission; and the King James Version.
Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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