Every year in our home we have a Chrismon tree. Hanging from the branches of the Frasier Fir are crosses made out of white beads, crocheted crosses, gold crowns, paper stars, Chi Rho ornaments, and delicate angels. And around this time every year, I begin thinking about taking it all down and packing it up until next Christmas. As I gently wrap up each Chrismon and put it back in its place, I remember the symbolism each one provides to us during a very special time of the year.
We are now in the Gospel of John, which like a Christmas tree, is also full of symbolism. Light and darkness is a major theme in John. Jesus is the light who is breaking into the darkness of the world and will give light and life to all people. Jesus is also called the bread of life. We are invited to eat of this bread, and live. Water is also very symbolic in John’s story. Jesus turns water into wine, he washes his disciples’ feet, he speaks with a Samaritan woman by a well, and Jesus himself is referred to as “living water”.
This account of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus is very different from the other Gospels and is sometimes considered the “spiritual gospel”. If we were to decorate a Christmas tree according to John, it would look pretty strange. We would have Styrofoam loaves of bread, definitely a lot of fish, maybe bottles of water, and certainly more strands of light than a normal Christmas tree. And on the very top, we probably would not find a star, but a 1000 lumen strobe light that would keep the neighbors up at night.
As we turn the page into 2022, our prayer boldly asks for the same Christ that was with God since the very beginning of creation, breaks into our daily lives. Come Lord Jesus, feed us, brighten our way, and quench our thirst for wholeness and peace.
Happy New Year,