Are you afraid of the dark?
Sometimes I am. Sometimes I’m not. I don’t know why.
Sometimes I can be alone at night on the side of a mountain and be fine, just me the woods and all the critters hopping and crunching, hooting and yipping.
And other times… I turn on every light in the house, like I can’t get enough of it, like a thirst that I can’t quench. Desperate and parched for light.
Darkness and light.
Pushing back the darkness.
Sometimes the dark seems to be all there is.
Then someone shows up and reminds us that there is light, there is light in the world.
We hear from John’s Gospel today, the gospel of light shining in the darkness, the light that is life itself, the light that the eroding darkness, the storm of devouring nothingness, cannot conquer.
John walks into that storm of devouring nothingness, and says that there is light, that it is on the way.
He is the witness. He is giving testimony in the court, that there is light in the darkness.
Prove it John. Show us John. You are the witness, John, make your case.
In the dark how do we prove that there is light? How do we make that case? What is light like? How can light be explained to a people lost in the dark? What is it like?
John is the one who makes the case.
How does he describe light? He points to Jesus. Jesus is what light is like. Jesus is the light that is life itself, life is coming back to the world, pushing back the dark storm of nothingness.
We have all heard the saying that Jesus is the reason for the season. In John’s Gospel Jesus is simply the reason.
The reason why all things exist. The reason that brings coherence to confusion. The reason that brings life where there was only absence. The reason that calms the nonsense of the world.
What is light like? Look at Jesus.
What is darkness like? The absence of Jesus.
That is the Gospel according to John. Belief. It is literally everything in John’s Gospel.
And today, John the Baptist is the witness to that light, that we may believe, and find reason again, that the world may make sense again.
Belief in Jesus. It is the difference between darkness and light in the Gospel according to John.
What does that belief look like?
It looks like Jesus.
Jesus is simply the reason.
How do we honor that? How do we believe in a way that brings light and life?
How do we lighten things up?
We are to be like John the Baptist, making the case, proving that there is light in the world, that there is reason, that there is sense, that there is coherence, that the universe has an inner logic. We are to be witnesses of Jesus.
It means caring Jesus as a gift, not as a weapon. Not like a chip on the shoulder daring someone to be offended or offensive. It doesn’t matter if we say Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays. It’s how we say it that counts. It is the gift of light and wonder and awe.
If Jesus is the reason, the internal logic that holds creation together, then to carry Jesus is to bring life to all the angry and habitually offended, bringing sense to nonsense.
Disarming the bomb, not throwing gas on the fire.
Do we present the Jesus who brings something good to those around us?
Or just another chip on the shoulder in a world full of shoulders piled high with the chips of grievance? Do we lighten that load? Do we lighten things up?
Bring light, life and coherence to the devouring darkness.
Testify to that.
Prove that there is light in the dark.
Lighten things up.