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Sunday, December 11, 2011

Lighting the Candle

There was a man sent from God whose name was John. Hecame as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe. He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light. The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.
John 1:6-12

J. B. Phillips spins a wondrous tale in his short story, “The Visited Planet”. He tells about a senior angel showing a very young angel the splendors and glories of the universes. They see whirling galaxies and blazing stars soaring across the infinite distances of space, until they enter one rather average galaxy of a half a trillion stars. Phillips continues describing the two angels’ cosmic tour:

“As the two of them drew near to the star which we call our sun, and to its circling planets, the senior angel pointed to a small and rather insignificant sphere, turning very slowly on its axis. It looked as dull as a dirty tennis-ball to the little angel, whose mind was filled with the size and glory of what he had seen.

“I want you to watch that one particularly”, said the senior angel, pointing with his finger.

“Well, it looks very small and rather dirty to me”, said the little angel. “What’s special about that one?”

“That”, replied his senior solemnly, “is the Visited Planet.”

“Visited?” said the little one. “You don’t mean visited by…?”

“Indeed I do. That ball, which I have no doubt looks to you small and insignificant and not perhaps overly clean, has been visited by our young Prince of Glory.” And at these words he bowed his head reverently.

It was more than the little angel could imagine: how the Prince of Glory “stooped so low as to become one of those creeping, crawling creatures of that floating ball.”

Isn’t it more than any mortal could imagine: how the Prince of Glory, who made all things and completes all things, came unto His own and “his own did not receive him”. The Gospel of John tells us that everywhere the Prince of Glory went in our world He faced rejection. Across the hearts of people everywhere was written: “No room at the inn”.

“The verdict is this”, says John’s Gospel: “Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light” (John 3:19). The Light still shines, but many people still love their shadows and illusions. They make the deliberate decision to live their lives without Christ. But the Gospel remains God’s Good News for all: any who will receive Him and believe in Him, will become “children of God”.




O God, our Creator and Redeemer; true Light from true Light. We praise you that you became man, that we might become children of God. We thank you that you made yourself low, to lift us up high, and to forever share in your life and glory. To you be glory and honor forever and ever. Amen.

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