Today’s Reading: John 1:1-5; 9-14

When I was growing up, it was tradition at my home church to read a portion of John 1 as the Christ Candle was lit at the Christmas Eve service. I looked forward to it each year, so the first year I was working at a church, we planned to include the same text on Christmas Eve. One day, the woman who would be reading the scripture came to my office to talk to me about it. She was new to the church and had never read it before, so she was full of questions. Eventually, she asked me point-blank what it meant. As I tried to answer her, it became clear that I was in a world of trouble. I remember hearing myself rambling and beginning to panic because I didn’t have a clear answer for her. I tried to point to certain truths I believed, but I couldn’t fully explain this key scripture that had played such a big role in my own faith journey. Talk about an awkward, humbling experience.

Since that year, I have continued to reflect on John 1 and have become clearer about what it means to me. Yet I don’t think that I (or anyone) will be able to give a full and adequate explanation of it. Each Christmas when I read it, its mystery strikes me again. Each time I read about the Word who was with God and was God, and each time I read about the light shining in the darkness, I am filled with wonder and awe. I’m not sure that the goal is for us to fully grasp the depth of what John means. Instead, perhaps John is trying to point us to something inexplicable, that we might draw near and do our own reflection. Perhaps rather than trying to fully comprehend the light, we are intended to bask in its beauty and warmth and let it change our hearts.