I often thought the reference in John’s Gospel regarding Jesus’ birth meant the Light of Christ overcame the darkness of evil. I imagined there was an epic battle between good and evil, and John proclaimed the Light of Goodness as winner when Jesus was born.
But, if Jesus came and punched out evil, why is the world still filled with trouble? Why is there an internal boxing match inside of me—the good inside of me fighting my impatient, sometimes small self? And why does my soul grow weary as I watch what’s-wrong-with-the-world news?
I revisited the verse in John 1:5 and it dawned on me. It doesn’t say the Light overcame the darkness. Rather, it says: The Light shines in the darkness.
Maybe the light that John refers to is God’s Divinity, his Infinite Love. And the darkness is not evil, but rather it’s our humanity, our earthly bodies. And perhaps the two belong together. They’re united. Light and Darkness are One.
My buddy who’s an artist says the color black is necessary for us to experience the color white. He points, out for example, that we need the dark sky to see the light of shining stars.
“Look at the unity between light and dark,” he says. “At dawn, the darkness gently receives the light as morning unfolds. At dusk, the light slowly merges into the darkness as the sky explodes with one last blast of color giving way to the black of evening, which invites us to rest. There’s such balance, such gentleness and harmony between these two dimensions of life. It’s as if darkness and light complement each other. They each reveal the other’s beauty.”
Like morning light penetrating dawn, the birth of Christ is the dawning of the Light of Love emptying itself, pouring itself into our human bodies, into our souls. God has formed creation out of his Divinity and filled our humanity with the unconditional love of his Being. God became man so that we may be filled with God.
And it’s not just a story that happened two thousand years ago. It’s a reality that’s happening now and in each moment of our lives. Unfolding. Evolving. Uniting the light and darkness within us.
Christ is born in us. Christ is born through us. Our souls are filled with the Creator’s Divinity and his light penetrates and reveals the beauty of our humanity.
When we sit in the quiet and ponder Christ’s Infinite Love for us, we open ourselves to the Light within.
As we empty ourselves of our busyness to pause and sit in the solitude of nothingness, we open our hearts to be saturated with Wholeness.
And when, during the day, we encounter our own darkness, like when I yell at another driver for driving too slowly and gasp at God to give me more patience, we allow the union of light and darkness to perfect the beauty of our humanity.
This Christmas I’m praying that God will integrate more deeply the light and darkness within me. And when I find myself cursing the darkness, whether my darkness or the world’s, I’m trying to replace my rant with these words: “Let your light shine in me.”
We are his Light. Spirit and Body are One.
But we must claim it. Own it. Run with it. It’s why he came….to let his love shine in us; to let his love shine through us. So the Universe is One in love.
—brian j plachta
Merry Christmas and Happy Incarnation!!!