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Advent 2018 Devotional—December 11

Advent 2018 Devotional—December 11

PRAY

“Speak Lord, for your servant is listening” (1 Samuel 3:10).

READ

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.
There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him.
He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light.
The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.
He was in the world, and the world came into being through him;
yet the world did not know him. He came to what was his own,
and his own people did not accept him. But to all who received him,
who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God.

John 1:5-12

Unrequited love. Are there any two more awful words in the English language than these two words painfully linked together! Unrequited love! Remember your first crush when you fell head over heals in love, only to learn that special someone didn’t feel the same way about you? “O cupid, next time please hit us both!” Or perhaps you were in a more serious relationship, even marriage, and you heard those devastating words, “I don’t love you.” On every level it hurts to love someone when your love is not returned. You learn the painful reality that you cannot make someone love you.

In the first lines of John’s Gospel we see that God is a person who loves, feels and desires. God created us in His image as persons to love and be loved in relationship with Him. Try and imagine God’s feelings of unrequited love in so loving the world that He gave His Son to be Savior —and His love not being returned.

Sadly, we learn from today’s Scripture that the Son of God was “The true light, which enlightens everyone.” Everyone! And “yet the world did not know Him… and his own people did not accept him.” Later in John’s Gospel the truth and tragedy of the world’s rejection of God’s light and love is explained: “And this is the judgement, that the light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil” (John 3:19). The reality is: some people love darkness rather than the light of God’s love. History bears it out! And God weeps!

But the rejection of God’s light by some did not thwart the determined purposes and love of God. “The light shines in the darkness and the darkness did not overcome it.” Still today, Jesus is “the light of the world” (John 8:12)and “the true light” (John 1:9), revealing the love of God to all. Jesus does not leave us in the dark about the Father’s love for us. He is the light of God shining into every heart.

Lesslie Newbigin, Christian statesman and missionary to India, wrote about Jesus as the world’s “true light”:

“There is no other light. There are not different varieties of light. There is only one light, namely that which enables us to see things as they really are. And things really are as they are shown to be in the light of Jesus, because he is the word through whom they all came to be. It follows that all men, whether they believe or not, live under the light just as they live by the creative word of God. And thus it follows when a person turns in faith to Jesus Christ he meets not a stranger but one whom he recognizes as the one in whom he was loved and chosen before the foundation of the world” (Ephesians 1:4). (Lesslie Newbigin, The Light Has Come: An Exposition of the Fourth Gospel)

Created by God and loved by God before the foundation of the world, God calls us to let the true light of the revelation of His love, Jesus, shine on us.

Shortly after our son Rhett was born, he developed jaundice; I saw his skin turning yellow! But his pediatrician told me not to worry because they would shine the “Jesus Light” on him. “Not understanding what he was saying, I asked him about the “Jesus Light”. He responded, “Oh, we call it the ‘Jesus Light’ because it works miracles!”

The light of God’s love poured out in Jesus shines on us today! He longs for you to let Him love you, and to requite His love!

PONDER

  • What are my thoughts about God longing for me to let Him love me?
  • What are my thoughts about God wanting me to love Him?
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PALMS DOWN/PALMS UP

For a moment hold your PALMS DOWN in a symbolic gesture of letting go to God your worries for the day, the busyness of the season, and expectations of the way the holidays ought to be. Release all of these concerns to God.

Next, hold your PALMS UP as a symbolic gesture of receiving God’s gifts, provision, and guidance for today.

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