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One of the best Christmas gifts I ever got was a passing comment from my dad. I was in my mid-teens, and I made some remark lamenting the increasing consumerism of the holidays, and how we ought to put the true meaning of the season back into our Christmas celebrations.

“Why do we have to do that?” my dad said. “Christmas is full of meaning already. Quit complaining and just enjoy it!”

As I quietly tended to my bruised ego and mulled things over, I had to admit my dad had a point. Just a slight shift in perspective brought things into focus. I decided from that point forward I would work at training myself to see what was already there: Joy. Peace. Salvation. God.

It turns out my dad was basically repeating what the Gospel of John tells us: the Light shines in the darkness. Christ is there in the mundane and the mess of life. But like the darkness, which doesn’t understand the Light, we are blind. For whatever reason, we don’t see Jesus (John 1:4–5; 3:19–21).

The Gospel of John invites all of us to take another look, to learn to see, and then walk in the Light (John 8:12; 12:46). When it comes to seeing God, most of us need some sort of training. This issue of the Herald offers a variety of stories that help us to recognize Jesus who is present with us in the darkness. We trust that you will encounter the Light, and enjoy the full meaning of Christmas, as a result.

Merry Christmas!

—J Janzen

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