Christmas and bioethics: 2012

This advent season our church has been reflecting on Jesus coming into the world as the light of the world. We rejoice in the coming of Jesus to this world as God revealing himself to us and showing us the way that we can be reconciled to our Father. However, even though shepherds rejoiced, not every one was pleased to have the light of God come into the world. Herod tried to kill the newborn king in a massacre of innocent children, and eventually the light of the world was crucified and the sun became dark at mid-day.

John reminded us that not everyone desires the light when he wrote “Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed.” (John 3: 19-20 NIV)

The light of truth that Jesus brought gives us a solid foundation for bioethics. We have a place to turn to help us resolve the difficult moral decisions we face today. But we should not be surprised that there are many who would rather leave the light of Jesus out of bioethics. We should remember that the first thing his light does is to show us all where we fall short. We all like to think that we are good people or at least “good enough”. The light that came into the world showed us that we are not good. None of us likes that. None of us wants to humble ourselves before our God. Until we do and we find that the God of light is also the God of love who sent his son into the world so that we could live eternally with him (see a few verses earlier in John).

Living in the light of God will mean that some of the things we need to say will not be accepted by many people who have avoided God’s light. May God help us to be gentle in how we express the truth revealed by his light, understanding how we were first hesitant to step into the light. May we be as gentle as the light of the world who came to earth as a baby born in a stable.

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