At this time of the year in the United Kingdom, daylight hours are very short, and darkness seems to pervade most of our lives. Nature seems to be moving inexorably towards the winter solstice marking the actual start of winter. Some people enjoy this particular season while others dread the effect it might have upon their mental health. What this highlights, of course, is the marked difference in reaction to the conditions of light and darkness, and this stark contrast in sensitivities is used by John in his Gospel in relation to light and darkness. His prologue, 1. 1-18, is much more than simply an introduction. It is the fixed framework in which his diverse material is circulated and developed. John identifies for us the pre-existent Word with the light of divine revelation that shines into a dark world that cannot comprehend or grasp with the natural mind this light, let alone extinguish it,
v. 5. Nothing would have existed in the world without the Word, as all human existence depended upon His pre-existent life, v. 4. He came into the world, v. 9, and revealed Himself to be the Light of the World, John 8. 12, shining light into human darkness. Without this revelation the world, as we know it, would have remained permanently in spiritual darkness. The world, though, in the sense of humanity, continues to actively oppose the light, vv. 10, 11, but praise God those who embrace the light become sons of light, v. 12; 1 Thess. 5. 5. Just as in the physical creation there was a distinction made between light and darkness, Gen. 1. 4, so God has now shone into our benighted hearts to give ‘the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ’, 2 Cor. 4. 6. Truly, we can say, from grateful hearts, that once we were blind, but now we see, John 9. 25!
For many of us, 2020 may have been the most harrowing year of our lives, certainly unprecedented. Many, including believers, have died because of the Coronavirus, yet for all of us our times are in His hands, Ps. 31. 15. Nothing in our lives takes God by surprise, 1 Pet. 4. 12, 13, and as He has sustained us in the past, so we look to Him to sustain us in the coming year, 1 Thess. 5. 23, 24.
Once again, we want to thank all those who have contributed articles for the magazine in the year. It is always a great privilege to serve the Lord’s people as we seek to edify, exhort and comfort them.