Dec. 18                            John 3:16-21                                      Bette Welch

God so loved the world that he gave his son so we, who believe, can be saved. We will not perish but have everlasting life. What an awesome gift!

When I hear this text, my mind and my heart go back to high school and the church choir I sang in in East Alton, IL. John Stainer, a nineteenth century English composer, organist and professor wrote an oratorio, “The Crucifixion”.  In the oratorio is a free-standing piece “God So Loved the World”, which is the text of John 3:16 and 17. This is a beautiful and poignant musical interpretation of this scripture and one which I have sung or directed in all of the churches I have been involved as a choir director or member. My first, at First United Methodist Church in East Alton, IL. I was awestruck by the music and the message and I will never forget that I was loved so much that I could be saved.

The second part of this scripture (verses 18-21) addresses condemnation.  The condemnation is that the light has come into the world and evil men hate the light as it will expose their evil ways. When I think of the Light of Christ, another wonderful piece of music comes to my mind and heart. “I Want to Walk as a Child of the Light”.

My home church in St. Louis is University United Methodist Church. Kathleen Thomerson, composer of “I Want to Walk as a Child of the Light”, wrote this hymn in the summer of 1966. Kathleen is a former organist and music director at University UMC. We sing this song quite often during Advent. The chorus of the hymn is:

              “In him there is no darkness at all

               The night and the day are both alike

               The Lamb is the light of the city of God

               Shine in my heart, Lord Jesus”

As we approach the last week of Advent, let us recall the greatest gift we have received when God sent his son to be our light. In Jesus’ name we pray.

Advent Devotional – Dec. 18