And the light shone through in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.
Christmas is just starting, though the sales people have moved on. Visit your Costco today and you cannot refresh your decorations, because they have snuffed out Christmas in their store.
Scrooges always try this:
Perhaps, Scrooge could not have told anybody why, if anybody could have asked him; but he had a special desire to see the Spirit in his cap; and begged him to be covered.
“What!” exclaimed the Ghost, “would you so soon put out, with worldly hands, the light I give? Is it not enough that you are one of those whose passions made this cap, and force me through whole trains of years to wear it low upon my brow!”
Scrooge reverently disclaimed all intention to offend or any knowledge of having wilfully “bonneted” the Spirit at any period of his life. He then made bold to inquire what business brought him there.
“Your welfare!” said the Ghost.
Thankfully for our welfare the Light cannot be put out by darkness. Costco or other retailers can make a hole in their celebration of Christmas, but Christmas still shines. A man can shut his eyes, but the world is not dark. Light dispels darkness and so we have to go out of our way to keep the dark.
Darkness cannot comprehend, overtake, or obtain the Light. We are reminded of Romans 9:30 where Gentiles (not the Chosen) obtain justice or righteousness by faith. Faith comprehends justice. Darkness cannot obtain or grasp the light. This makes sense.
We cannot obtain or grasp a thing beginning in the wrong place. The law of God is good, but the Law (by itself) cannot help us obtain justice. We are unable to obey the Law and the good Law only succeeds in pointing out how unjust we are. Saint Paul notes that hearing about justice, God’s righteousness, often stirs up wickedness in us. I never wanted to walk on grass so much as when they told me not to do so! That might be puckish when it comes to laws, but is perverse when it comes to coveting or other vices.
Darkness cannot grasp light or help us get light as darkness flees when the Light shines. That is true, but Saint John is (I think) giving darkness a more tangible presence than the mere absence of light. “Darkness” is the anti-light, a spider hole for bad deeds. Darkness comes and snuffs out light. This is not the good darkness lit by starlight that God created at the beginning of the world. Night is good, darkness in this sense is bad. Darkness would snuff out the day and night and at Calvary covered the land.
Yet Light is there above the clouds still. Darkness cannot comprehend the light anymore than humankind could hurtle weaponry at heaven and snuff out all the stars. We can pollute our atmosphere to hide ourselves (for a time) from deep heaven, but stars go on in their courses moved by Love and Love will find a way to rescue anyone in the darkness who wishes so.Why?
Light is and polluting darkness only is when we make it so. It cannot last, the stars will outlast any curtain we can draw for a time and even they are not eternal. God is an eternal uncreated Light and against that Light not even the devils can draw a veil that can outlast the Light. Because God loves us, He veils His own light, graciously, so we can choose the Light for ourselves, but that choosing does not create the Light and our rejection, if we make that error, does not diminish or limit light.
If the results of our choosing darkness is altogether unpleasant, then Light cannot be blamed. One cannot demand consent and then complain when the rejected leaves with all His benefits. We cannot have beauty, truth, and goodness having rejected the Good, the True, and the Beautiful.
Light goes on and at Christmas comes to us in a transforming and not a consuming way. We have a chance to see and not be blinded, dazzled maybe at first, but not unpleasantly. I choose the Light.
Christ is born!
A Christmas series on John 1: 1-14 (Links will not be active until the piece is published. All active by January 5, 2019).