Theme: Living Into Joy

Written by Kimberly Williams, First Congregational Church of Fresno

John 1:9-18

The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.

Where do you keep your Christmas decorations? We store ours for 11 months of the year in the garage. Our garage is organized exactly the way you’d imagine two adults with ADHD would have it organized. Best intentions in January, the boxes clearly labeled and stacked together. By June one box has been ripped open because one of us (not pointing fingers, but it wasn’t me) didn’t read the label and it *wasn’t* filled with whatever it was that was being searched for. The tape is not reapplied. By November your guess is as good as mine about where everything went. We found the light up village, but where did the twinkle lights go? Ah, they’re on the shelf with the chlorine for the hot tub—of course. That makes sense.

“Hey babe! I found the lights! And, funnily enough, that dog harness we couldn’t find last April!”

We will have to wait for nightfall to enjoy the display. All afternoon is spent on a ladder with kids running around sugared up with hot cocoa, one of us hanging the lights, the other offering “helpful” commentary from the ground.

I dunno, maybe you know exactly where everything is and this isn’t helpful for you at all. But it’s exactly this dash through utter disorganization and chaos that makes the lights seem so vibrant when we finally see them lit up. The lights have been here all along in the garage, but who could know we would have such a display based on the contents of ripped cardboard boxes that have been haphazardly stashed away?

He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him.

Our light display is a good reminder that in this season while we anticipate the birth of Christ, God has always been here. Obscured by our own chaos, no one has ever seen God, yet still here with us in the mess.

When Jesus is born, a true light is shone. Not the kind that gets turned off at dawn and on at dusk thanks to a photocell sensor, but light that stays, reaches everyone. Is isn’t merely seasonal, rather it is always available for guidance, clarity, or sometimes it’s there for us to just sit back and marvel at.