Thought for the week with Rev. Edward Lyons

“In Jesus was life, and the life was the light of men.” What does it mean to say that Jesus was life? Were people not alive before his birth?

Are people who have no faith in him today not alive? This passage will be getting read out all over the country in churches as we enter Advent. Maybe because it is so well known it is not so well understood.

A film which is getting on for being slightly old now is The Matrix. Without running through the whole plot and boring you, I simply want to recall one point.

When the protagonist is awakened from the dream state which he has been in his entire life, he complains that his eyes are hurting in the light. He asks why this is, and he is told, “Because you have never used them”.

Thus the first time light comes into his eyes he tries to close them because he finds it quite uncomfortable. But once he sees reality and discovers his real life there is no going back.

We are formed in the darkness of our mother’s womb. We are alive in the womb. Yet when we are born, sounds will be clearer to us and temperature as well. The fact is that life outside the womb with all the stimuli is far sharper than life inside the womb.

Inside the womb may be secure as it is a regulated temperature and we are always fed and our little world in there is probably very pleasing to our unborn selves. But who amongst us would wish to go back? Are not the noise and colour and light and sensation and the marriages and relationships we form on this side of the womb so much more?

This is what it means to be born again in Christ and to grasp what it means to hear the words, “In Jesus was life, and the life was the light of men.” We can make a transition to full life by faith in Christ, and we make this in our souls, in our minds and in our hearts by trusting all Christ’s promises.

We move from the life we started with to another, fuller life altogether. A sharper life, a greater life, a forgiven life and a blessed life. The transition is so great it is likened to birth itself hence the phrase “born again”. The past sins are all forgiven, and that means all of them, even the darkest ones, not just some of them, and a future life beyond here realised. And like the best of presents, it is not just for Christmas, it is forever. Yet Christmas is a great time to start.