The Advent season is upon us. The tree is up in the church. The lights will shine in the darkness, reminding us that,

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” (John 1:1-5).

Throughout history, God has acted through his word. God’s word is by nature act and action. The First Book of Moses recounts, “And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness” (Genesis 1:3-4).

The darkness of the void before creation was a darkness which none of us can imagine because the darkness was not just a matter of lack of light. It was a matter of no matter at all, nothing, i.e. no-thing yet existed, not even the “matterlessness” of light itself. God, however, was there, and God made “there” come into being and did so through his word.

For many in our day and age, the material world is all that there is, all that exists. Some very intelligent people spend a lot of time and effort seeking to debunk the notion of God and of creation as his action. They invent numerous theories about how the “big bang” could have happened without a god or the God. It is a lofty task to deny the existence of God, one to which seemingly more and more people are called. We see it everywhere in the world around us, and we also see it in ourselves.

In the midst of God’s pristine creation, he created Adam and Eve, and although there is no biblical evidence that God created Eve towards the end of the day, together our first parents brought the darkness of sin into God’s glorious creation. Consequently, despite the earth basking in the light of the sun, each one of us is born into a darkness which prevents us from truly seeing God in all that there is. Whereas Adam and Eve were created in the image of God, the rest of us have been born in sin. So, we seek to fill that darkness with the so-called light of human reason. When one considers the multitude of highly advanced, technical, and intricate ways in which we can kill other human beings, reason’s bright ideas paradoxically and tragically contribute to the darkness of our fallen world.

In the dark of night shepherds were watching their flocks. Then, an angel appeared, and the glory of the Lord shone around them. “And the angel said to them, ‘Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.’”

Wrapped in swaddling cloths, concealing his glory, the shepherds found the Christ child, the word of God made flesh, the light of the world in the shadows of a cow shed. For the next three decades, Christ’s glory would continue to be concealed. He would join his father in the family trade until the day when he would trade his carpentry skills for a path which would lead to his cross. There, he would give himself for you and for me.

The Advent season is upon us. The tree is up in the church. The lights will shine in the darkness for you and for me. Let us proclaim “the good news of great joy for all the people” and let them know, “It’s Christmas!”