The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overtake it. (John 1:5)
I was born in Bethlehem… (wait for it) …Pennsylvania. June 5, 1967. On that day, two significant things happened that impacted millions of people:
1. Darkness—there was a massive power outage on the East Coast, including Bethlehem.
2. War—the 6 Day Arab-Israeli war broke out.
Jesus was born in THE Bethlehem. On that day, light and peace entered the world and impacted billions of people… and the darkness did not overtake it.
This week in Advent, many Christians will light the Bethlehem candle representing PEACE—the very peace of which Jesus spoke frequently, embodied in his behavior, and offered to us all through his followers when he appeared to them after the resurrection.
Peace is not simply the absence of conflict; it is the presence of light and love that empowers us to rise above darkness and hate in all forms. Peace comes when we believe that all will be well, and when love is embodied in action.
Advent is a time of patient waiting, but also of preparation. If light and the resulting peace is to come into this world this Christmas, it will be by our reflecting the True Light that came into the world in THE Bethlehem birthday we strive to celebrate.
Like the gold of The Word Became Flesh illumination at the start of John’s Gospel in The Saint John’s Bible, there is reflection only when there is light. May the remaining days of this Advent season give you countless chances to be light in the darkness… and peace to all you encounter.
I’ve often wondered how my mother felt when she literally brought a child into a world of darkness and war. Although the Bethlehem of my birth had little in common with the Bethlehem of Jesus’ birth, I know what my mother knew: the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overtake it.
Advent blessings to you and yours,
Rev. Dr. John F. Ross
The Saint John’s Bible Heritage Program