Mat’s December Letter

‘In the beginning was the word’. This is an incredibly evocative quote from the beginning of John’s gospel. For me it brings back memories of preparing for Christmas day as a child with ‘Carols from King’s’ on the radio. And as I’ve increasingly reflected on it the meaning has become much, much more significant.

Each year as we come towards Christmas the darkness of the world is in greater evidence. Not just the evenings drawing in, but also the darkness we see on the news; the civil war in Syria, continuing conflict in Afghanistan, a renewed bombing campaign in Northern Ireland, the natural disaster in the Philippines, not to mention our own struggles and sadnesses. It is into this darkness that the light of God was deliberately given to bring salvation and hope.

This opening verse from John reminds us that before creation was formed in its awesome beauty and before human kind rebelled and introduced darkness into the world—God is. In the beginning, throughout the history of the universe, in our present and throughout our future—God is. And that brings enormous hope and comfort. Why? Because the Word didn’t just bring creation into being (John 1:3Open Link in New Window) and leave it, the Word didn’t only shine as eternal light in the darkness (1:5), the Word became ‘flesh and lived among us and we have seen his glory, full of grace and truth (1:14). Jesus, the first, middle and last Word, is God who we know and worship because God chose to reveal Himself to us. For me this means that no matter what happens, no matter what darkness I see, I know there is hope in our creator, our redeemer, the light and life of the world, who is and always has been and always will be. Hope of change in the present and eternal hope for the future.

It’s said that Christmas was deliberately put in December after the shortest day in our calendar. How prophetic; for it reminds us that the light cannot be overcome by any amount of darkness.

As we travel through Advent together can I encourage you to spend some time reflecting on what these verses mean for you in your life now and to turn those reflections into prayer and worship. Let’s prepare to celebrate the Word becoming flesh and living amongst us. And let’s not be afraid to tell the story of the incarnation to those who don’t know it.


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