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Happy Thanksgiving!  We hope that you had a wonderful Thanksgiving Day.   May your heart be filled with gratitude for everything that God has done for you!  We now begin our journey to Advent by “making room” in our hearts for the birth of the Christ Child.  It is one of the most wonderful times of the year because of all the beautiful decorations and especially the lights!  This is a season of light.  We celebrate that God’s light has come into the world and the darkness of our broken humanity has been revealed but also remedied by the birth of our Savior.  Our series for this season is Finding the Light of Christmas.  This is the problem. We cannot always see God’s light because we are blind to our own nature or we are blinded by our desires.  Darkness is always intimidating and even disorienting.  It is not hard to see the darkness of the human spirit, especially when it explodes with anger, hatred, violence, or a legion of other destructive behaviors. It is easy for us to see the blind spots in the lives of those around us but much harder for us to admit to our own.  Our first sermon in this series is True Light and we start with John 1:5-18.  The Gospel of John was written to people who thought they were seeing the world clearly.  They thought they had the best possible light to make their way in the world but John could see that they were stumbling around in the darkness of human sin.  He wanted them to see the power of God’s light that was shining through the birth of Jesus.  This was a not philosophical or religious theory but it was God’s only Son who had come to share with us the enduring and eternal power of God’s light! When we find the light of Christmas, it is not just on a tree, wreath, or in a window but it is God’s presence that is able to fill us with grace and truth.  It is the light that transforms the darkness of our shame into the hope of a great Savior who loves us and shows us the way to a glorious new day!   We pray that as we move into the light of Christmas that you will be transformed by the light of Christ and you will find the darkness being shattered by the grace of our loving Savior as you read John 1:5-18:

John 1:5-18: The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. 6 There was a man sent from God whose name was John. 7 He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe. 8 He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light. 9 The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. 11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God– 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God. 14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. 15 (John testified concerning him. He cried out, saying, “This is the one I spoke about when I said, ‘He who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.'”) 16 Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given. 17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known. (NIV)