The Second Sunday of Christmas Year B 2021
John 1:1-9, 10-18
Sometimes when Phyllis and I have been really busy, and there has been a flurry of activity, and life has become chaotic, we have had to remind ourselves that we need to slow down, and regroup, and take a moment to stop and smell the coffee.
Well, the Sundays after Christmas are a time in the liturgical calendar when we are encouraged to slow down and take a look at what we are doing. Christmas Eve and Christmas Day are over and the hustle and bustle of the season is behind us.
The Second Sunday in the Christmas Season is meant to slow us down, and take time to regroup, and then go and take another look at the Christmas Season without all the distractions. And the Gospel according to St. John is the perfect Gospel to read on this day.
As you may have noticed, the Gospel of St. John does not include angels, or shepherds, or even Mary and Joseph, or the Baby Jesus lying in a manager. No, the Gospel of John tells a very different story from the story that we heard on Christmas Eve.
Just as the Gospel of Luke told the Christmas story with facts, the Gospel of John tells the story with poetry. And just as the Gospel of Luke tells us what happened, the Gospel of John wants us to reflect on what it all means. Yes, there are two different ways to tell the Christmas story, and one is not better than the other because both are important.
A few moments ago, we heard “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.” Let me ask you this: Is there anything more hopeful than a light in the darkness?
Think about it. When darkness surrounds us, we cannot see anything. And when darkness surrounds us, we cannot find our way and every step that we take is taken in fear of what lies ahead. But when there is light, suddenly our fears are relaxed. Why??? Because there is now a beacon to show us the way. And because there is light, we can move forward in confidence because we can see the path that lies ahead of us.
The Gospel of John informs us that Jesus is the light in our darkness. Later in John’s Gospel Jesus said " I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." John 8:12
In John’s Gospel, this is the Christmas message. And the Good News is that even as we live our lives in this dark and scary world, Christ continues to enter our world to bring us the light that we so desperately need. And now more than ever, we need the light of Christ in our lives.
The year 2020 has been unlike any time we have ever seen before. Social distancing, face masks, cancelled events, reduced capacity at restaurants, overflowing ICU facilities, zoom meetings, zoom classes, at times limited toilet paper and paper towels. I bet you can add several more activities to this list that describes how the year 2020 has been different, and how the darkness appears to have taken over our lives.
It is no wonder then that the world seems very dark right now. But in John’s Gospel, Jesus does not skip over the dark moments in our lives. John 16 verse 33 states “In this world you will have trouble but take heart! I have overcome the world.”
Because the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, God’s grace and truth and life has been brought to our world.
John tells us that because God loves the world so much, and because God loves us so much, God sent His Son into the world not to condemn the world but to save the world.
Yes, the corona virus has caused a lot of trouble in our world. And the threat the virus poses is not over. But just like every other scary situation in our world, this illness has been overcome by the light of Christ. The corona virus cannot put out the light of Christ in our lives.
I know this may sound like a Sunday school answer to a very important question, but Jesus is the answer to all our fears. In John’s Gospel, Jesus is bigger and brighter than anything that can scare us. Jesus does not bow down to dangerous situations or an uncertain future. Jesus does not give up His light and authority to pandemics or anything else that threatens to separate us from the love of God.
No… Our future has been secured. God is with us today. And this is the hope that has comforted God’s people generation after generation.
Christians have faced pandemics and illnesses before.
And Christians have faced war, persecution, and financial crises far greater than what we have recently experienced in our lives. And yet the Christmas message has not changed. The truth still holds. The Gospel of John informs us “And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth and love.”
Today on this Second Sunday in the Christmas Season, we are asked to slow down and reflect upon the season without all the distractions.
May the Good News “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it” bring joy and peace and happiness to your life even as we journey through the darkness that the virus has in store for us. Amen.
Let us pray: Almighty God, you have filled us with the light of the Word who became flesh and lived among us. We ask that the light of faith shine forth in all we do, so that people everywhere may believe, rejoice, and celebrate the love you have for us. We pray this in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, your Word made flesh. Amen.