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 . . . And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us . . . full of grace and truth. (John 1:1-5,14 ESV)
These are surely among the most profound and earth-shaking words ever written. The coming of Jesus Christ means we no longer have to cope as best we can in a dark world. We don’t face the prospect of life without purpose or hope. Our families don’t have to hang together by a fraying thread. The world is not on its own against the threats of evil, injustice, darkness and despair. A Savior has come into the world. This is the Christian gospel – the good news. The light has come, and darkness cannot overcome it. God’s light, shining in Jesus Christ, is stronger than the darkness. The world’s story, and our story, are moving to God’s good fulfillment. That’s why Jesus came. That is his mission.
Now to your mission. After introducing Jesus Christ (the Word), the very next line of John’s Gospel says, There was a man sent from God, whose name was John (1:6). He was talking about John the Baptist, who came to point people to Jesus. But the text might just as easily say, “There was a man sent from God named Scott, or George, or Dave. There was a woman sent from God named Becky, or Sally, or Ruth.” Just fill your name into the blank.
The arrival of Jesus in the world was not an accident. It was planned in the heart of God from all eternity. And just as Jesus was not accident, neither are you. God has a sacred mission for your life. You and I have a critical role to play in the drama of God’s saving love for the world. We may not always understand the drama. And you may find yourself in a dark chapter today. But that is only because the story is not yet over. God’s light will shine in the end.
Your God-given mission, like John the Baptist’s, is to testify to the light of Jesus Christ. Point others to Him. That is the real purpose behind your life as a student, homemaker, employee, manager, parent, grand-parent, volunteer, or retiree. God has given you these roles as opportunities to shine His light. Thankfully, we don’t have to generate the light. It’s His. Let it shine.
Come, Lord Jesus! Shine the light of your truth and grace in the darkness of the world, and in the darkness of my heart. Empower me by your Holy Spirit, that your light will shine in my life, so that others may find the way to you. Reveal yourself to me in your written Word. Amen.