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The book of I John is shining in Advent at Blanchard Warrenville this year. As we move ever closer to Christmas, I’m amazed at the mystery and wonder of what Christ accomplished that night he was born in Bethlehem.

It’s a wonder which A.W. Tozer spoke on many years ago at Southwest Alliance Church in Chicago. As he reflected on the text of I John, he marvels at “that light”, a powerful descriptor of God as if He’s a luminous mountain, a bright presence so wholly other, so purely full of light and life–that any of us who confess our sin and darkness have access “this light”, thus restoring our broken relationship with God.

This, Tozer preaches, is the wonder of Christmas. In his message from I John, The Theology of Christmas, which I encourage you to stream or download here from sermonindex.net, is captured in its seven points below…

1.  The wonder of “that” eternal light
2.  The wonder of “that light” manifested
3.  The wonder of the nature of God:  “God is light, in him there is no darkness at all.”
4.  The mystery of iniquity
5.  The wonder of sin forgiven when confessed
6.  The wonder of cleansing from unrighteousness
7.  The wonder of “restored moral innocence” by the blood of Jesus.

May the wonder of the Light of Christ burn in our hearts anew like the two walking on the road to Emmaus experienced after He met them and explained everything about himself in the Scripture on that great day of His resurrection.

God save us from complacency this Advent season–move us to wonder and be filled with Your light anew…

A closing prayer:
As each day passes, the end of my life becomes ever nearer, and my sins increase in number. You, Lord, my [light], know how feeble I am, and in my weakness, strengthen me; when I suffer, uphold me, and I will glorify you, my Lord and my God.  –Ephrem the Syrian

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I wish they had surgical glue when I was a kid.  My face would have been better for it.  I have more facial scars than most people I know–and great stories to go along with them:  slamming my own head in a car door; tripping in front of a wood carving of a fisherman holding a turtle upside-down (with a really sharp tail that gashed my 3 yr. old lip…)  My girls are always asking me to tell the story of “how I got that scar.”

But Ellie’s sweet face wasn’t meant to be the manuscript for those kind of silly, painful and “permanent” stories.  She got her first “storyline” last Tuesday night.  Her cute forehead met the edge of our workdesk upstairs as she reached down for a pencil and punctured a nice 1/2  inch diagonal slice right in the center of it.  As a dad, I must say the blood that spurted out of the cut was cool (but terrifying to look at–especially for her sister…).  As the blood flowed, we quickly grabbed an old washcloth to press on the wound,  and loaded my still-whimpering Ellie into the car to head off to the Convenient Care Center.

As I drove and talked with Ellie, I mourned the fact that her once scarless face would never be the same again.  Of all things, Ellie’s new scar is a hopeful reminder that, because of Christ’s arrival during Advent, it’s only temporary.  I’m mad she’ll have it for this lifetime, but because of Christ lowering himself to become a perfect, sinless Savior, that scar is just a reminder that her body’s just a rental.

Born into squalid filth, Jesus arrived as a perfect, beautiful baby boy.  I’m sure He earned his share of scars on his rental body over thirty-three years, too.  So, in the end, Ellie’s first scar is only temporary:  a simple reminder to be thankful this Advent that, like Isaiah said,

“By his stripes, we are healed.”

Forever and ever.