“The Word gave life to everything that was created, and his life brought light to everyone” (John 1:4, NLT).
Everyone loves Christmas lights, even those who don’t celebrate the birth of Christ. The lights draw us in, with an almost magical and magnetic attraction. Lights and even trees as part of the Christmas celebration originated only a few hundred years ago, but Jesus has been the light of the world since his birth.
Matthew, Mark and Luke began their narratives with the events surrounding Jesus’ birth, but John went back beyond the beginning to talk about him as Creator. John tied the two together to show that in the beginning Jesus the Word gave life to everything and in his new beginning as a human, he brought light to a dark world and new life in himself. He shines brighter than all the Christmas lights of the world put together—he is our light and has been shining brightly since before time began.
“‘Listen to me, my people. Hear me, Israel, for my law will be proclaimed, and my justice will become a light to the nations’” (Isaiah 51:4, NLT).
When people do terrible things to each other, we often hear the families of the victims call for justice. But when we say we want justice, what we really mean is we want someone to be punished, and usually severely. It’s a normal reaction to being wronged and understandable from our limited human perspective.
We don’t understand justice from God’s point of view, but we can be pretty sure it’s a far cry from we think it should look like. God’s justice is a perfect light that shines on everyone, just like the sun. It is always paired with righteousness, which is another hard word to pin down as it’s usually paired with “self.” God’s justice and righteousness are pure, perfect and always rooted in love because he is love. One day we’ll understand and love justice as much as he does and everyone will live in its light.