Teach Us to Pray (John 1:6-8)

The Gospel writer seems to interrupt his cosmic intro with this: “There once was a man named John.” Into the mystery of the arrival of God himself—Creator, Life, and Light of the universe—the author inserts a single man, small but overwhelmingly significant. John is defined but what he is not: he is not the Light. This is a posture of humility. John is not God. The messenger is not the Message.

Just like John, we are not the Light. What a humbling and liberating thing to remember during such a hectic season. I am not the source or the center of the story. It isn’t all up to me. It is easy to find ourselves thinking and acting like everything will come crashing down if we don’t get that last gift, make that dessert, go to every party, do it just like last year—as if the holiday is only a holy-day if we make it so. Even if we aren’t so dramatic about it, we still assume that what we are doing is necessary for Christmas. But Christmas is not something we create and craft. It is the story of the Light coming to us who are in darkness. Remembering this in the midst of so many distractions is the work of prayer. In order to return to this story throughout this week, simply pray:

"Christ, you are the Light. Shine in the darkness."

Let this prayer both convict and comfort you, reminding you to relinquish control and rest in the good news that God is Light. In this humble rest, remembering that we are not the Light, we discover like John our true significance in the story. John is not the Light, but he shines the Light. If we allow this to sink into the fabric of our own lives, we see Christ’s own light filling every person, thing, and moment. When we spend time prayerfully soaking in this Light, our practices and interactions during the holidays can become means and messages of Christ's arrival on earth.

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Tomorrow on the Daily Connection: The Deeper Dive Podcast on John 1:6-8

About the Author

Nick Chambers is the Director of Spiritual Formation at Calvary UMC