The True Light

David Bast

Read: John 1:1-9

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. (v. 5)

If you live where I do, the weather in December can be pretty depressing. The days are short. It’s usually cloudy. We sometimes go for weeks without ever seeing the sun. It seems appropriate that we should celebrate the coming of the Light into the world during the darkest time of the year (at least in North America). There’s a reason we light candles to mark the weeks of Advent!

Light and darkness are symbols for good and evil, truth and falsehood, wisdom and ignorance. Later in John’s Gospel Jesus will declare himself to be “the light of the world” (John 8:12). The darkness may seem strong, stronger even than the light, but never fear. It can’t win in the end.

Here in his prologue, John also reminds us of a truth we might tend to overlook during this season: the light has always been here. “The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world” (v. 9). God did not enter the darkness of our fallen world for the first time at Christmas. He’s always been coming here, and not just here, but everywhere; not just with us, but with everyone. Christians call this light of God’s presence “common grace,” as in “common to all.” Because of that, everything that is good or true or beautiful, wherever in the world it is found, comes from him. Whatever light there is, shines from the gracious presence of the Lord. —David Bast

As you pray, give thanks for any signs of light you see in the world.