The darkness must have been impossible to comprehend. It wasn’t a darkness like we experience, a temporary veil that hides imperfectly objects which we know will reappear with the sunrise. It was the darkness of a world that had never known light. It was the deep darkness of nothing.
So long as light exists, darkness will never again regain its former dominion.
And then, in the beginning, a single word was spoken and a ray of purest light exploded into the universe, tearing away the nothing and creating innumerable galaxies full of somethings. In the process, darkness was forever rendered temporary and powerless. So long as light exists, darkness will never again regain its former dominion.
Christ is not just a Savior. He is a Creator.
This story of creation occupies the very first words of sacred Scripture, and is echoed in the first words of the book of John, “In the beginning…”. But in this echo we find a second actor at play, an agent of God’s creation: Jesus Christ. “Through him were all things made,” John writes (John 1:3). John is identifying the central work and role of the Messiah. Christ is not just a Savior. He is a Creator. In him is life, a light for all mankind (John 1:4), and just as the first light of creation shone unstoppably into the nothingness, so the Light of World shines in the darkness “and the darkness has not overcome it” (John 1:5).
It is good for us to be reminded at Advent that the primary work of Jesus is not to patch us up and make us better people, but rather to re-create us, to make us alive. As Louie Giglio (among others) has said, “Sin doesn’t make us bad, sin makes us dead. The gospel doesn’t make us better, the gospel makes us alive.”
I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.
God made this promise through the prophet Ezekiel: “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh” (Ezekiel 36:26). And Paul put it this way in 2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!”
Jesus is the agent of God’s creation. He was there in the beginning, the Word by which all things came into being, and he is there in your heart creating something new, replacing the dead heart of stone with a beating heart of flesh that yearns to follow after God.
Already, But Not Yet
Even though the light of Christ is shining in the darkness of our hearts, we know that the work is not complete. Christ has brought us from death to life, and yet while we walk on this earth, some measure of darkness retains a hold in our hearts. Darkness has lost its power over us, yet we still find that we are prone to wander toward self-centeredness.
But the Creator is not finished creating. A day is coming when he will make all things new (Rev. 21:5), when darkness will finally be banished from the universe by all surpassing light of the Creator. “There will be no more night,” John writes in Revelation 22:5. “They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light.”
They are shadows of something far greater, signs pointing us to the light of our Creator God and Jesus, his agent of creation.
So this Advent season, as you celebrate with flashing Christmas lights and flickering candles, remember that these are not just pretty decorations. They are shadows of something far greater, signs pointing us to the light of our Creator God and Jesus, his agent of creation. They are reminding us that he still creates light in “every longing heart,” and that he’s re-creating us, banishing the darkness, and speaking something magnificent into existence inside us.
David Ray is a worship leader, artist and songwriter from Houston, Texas. He and his wife, Jess, are the creators of Doorpost Songs Family Worship, a series of songs and resources designed to help parents take up the mantle of spiritual leadership in their homes. He is father to three rambunctious kids and he loves getting to serve churches and families across the nation.