In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. 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, who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God.
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.
[John 1: 1-14]
As a child, I had a hard time grasping the concept of eternity. I was raised in an evangelical home where there were lots of discussions about how wonderful it will be for all of us to go to heaven and be with God forever. But the thought of being in a place that is so formless, endless and vast, with no beginning or end, frightened and overwhelmed me. I remember looking up at the stars one night and wondering if I could ever understand and accept God’s eternity.
Like many people, I left church and religious discussions behind as a young adult and didn’t think much about eternity. So I was surprised at the comfort these words of John brought me when I encountered them as an adult. I’m so thankful that God – outside the limits of time and space and in the formless cosmic preexistence – had a plan to bring the Word and the knowledge of God’s presence to us humans. Before the creation of our world, in the vastness of the cosmos, God established an eternal relationship with us and from the beginning has been present to sustain us. Through Jesus Christ, God provided light and life to the world, “the true light which enlightens everyone.” What a wonderful gift from our God! Through these words in John, God also promises us that the darkness will not overcome the light, that even when we don’t understand God’s plan, even when we are in danger or in darkness and are afraid, God and Christ are with us and support us.
So how should we prepare for the coming of Jesus Christ? From these verses we learn that John was sent from God and came ahead of Jesus to testify to the light. During this busy Advent season as we await Jesus’ coming, one preparation we can make is to take a few minutes to think about who or what in our lives is sent by God to help prepare us. Are we listening? I believe that God sends each of us people, ideas, readings, friends, family members and communities who remind us of the coming of Jesus in grace and truth and remind us of God’s love and support. We may never fully understand the concept of eternity, but God and Jesus Christ have a plan for each of us, and our task is to discern and follow it. I hope that all of us use this time to deepen our understanding of our relationship with God and Christ and their plan for us.