Rocky Turtle 

It is with continuing and overflowing gratitude to God that I greet you in the name of our Lord. Once again, while waking up this morning to a world of heightened turmoil, we are nearing the season of Christmas as we prepare to celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ...the "King of Kings."

Allow me to revisit one of my earlier letters, written in February of 2014, when I specifically addressed the subject of the nature and wonder of "light," and the role light played that first Christmas. It begins with the reading of 1 John 1:5 (NKJV):

"This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare
to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all."

The unfolding discovery of the universe through scientific analysis leads many to gain a deeper understanding of the almost unknowable wonders of God’s creation. Some of the greatest scientists of all time have dedicated their lives to the study of the properties and behaviour of light. For example, Albert Einstein hypothesized that light and time were interrelated, and that our observances of such are relative to our positions in time and space.

Light particles, called photons, are described as tiny spheres of energy. They have absolutely no mass, yet they travel at the incredible speed of 671 million miles per hour. We often refer to "light years" when measuring distances in the cosmos, barely comprehending that a light photon covers six trillion miles in one year. What an amazing Creator God we love and serve, who is described in Revelation as being "the Alpha and the Omega" -- "the Beginning and the End" (1:8; 22:13).

Now today, as we consider "light" in the context of the Christmas story, we are drawn to the reality of God’s great celestial light in the sky that guided the Magi to a lowly stable and manger in which the God who "is light" was laid. Try to imagine the complex mathematical calculations, and the measure of control over the entire cosmos that would have been required for God to first give birth to the "Star of Bethlehem" whose remarkable light, even travelling at the "speed of light," would have been initiated by Him to arrive and lead our wise worshippers to their destination at precisely the right time, His star having already travelled for thousands of years according to light’s speed.

I recall making an illustration to a study group where I held up my coffee cup and posed the question: "How is it that we recognize this object as a coffee cup?" More than one person expressed that it was definable as a cup because it was illuminated by the light in the room. I responded by correcting a common myth. The cup is not recognizable simply because of the light that falls upon it. It can only be defined as an object when it is viewed by the contrast of both light and dark, thereby defining its detail.

From this demonstration, we may take away two spiritual lessons. The first being that as God became "incarnate" and dwelt among us in this finite realm, He was more clearly defined as the "Light of the world" in contrast to the fallen "dark" world around Him. Secondly, if we imagine heaven as being void of darkness and full of light, then this little lesson also gives us a glimpse of a heavenly realm where we’ll see things and recognize each other, but only through new spiritual eyes. John 1:3-5 also makes mention of this contrast between light and darkness:

"All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it."

In Italy, there is a beautiful expression that refers to the birthing of a child: "Dare alla luce," which means, "to give to the light." What a beautiful way of expressing how we, as His children, become "one" with Him. It strikes me, though, even as time belongs to God, that His physical universe (including the Star of Bethlehem and its revealing trail of light) can be considered a marvellous testament to His faithfulness to humankind. Being of the physical realm, and once set in motion (thousands of "light years" before its dawning upon the little town of Bethlehem), He initiated the means by which some of Christ’s followers would be notified of Jesus’ birth. God was committed for all those thousands of years, and we are the beneficiaries of His greatest gift at Christmas to all humankind.

May you always walk in God’s light and be blessed as you have blessed those who suffer for His namesake.

doug mckenzie sig

Doug J. McKenzie
Chief Executive Officer
The Voice of the Martyrs Canada