In the First Light

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David Bahn-Reflections Podcast 

Genesis 1:3-4

 And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. And God saw that the light was good. 

John 1:1-13

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light.

The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. 11 He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. 12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

Art Deco Light Fixture | Omaha, NE | November 2022

Light! Let’s have some light! That’s a line from a children’s recording of The Purple Puzzle Tree. It’s an engaging and edifying series of 36 stories of the Bible. I use the Genesis 1:3-4 verse as a signature Bible verse on my personal email. As an avid amateur photographer light is everything. It’s all about the light.

That opening lyric of this song got my attention. In the first light of a new day no one knew he had arrived. How so very true! Jesus’ birth in a stable, his first cradle a manger, his humble parents, the obscure village conspire to make Jesus’ birth unnoticed by all but those few to whom the angels appeared that night. Indeed, things did continue as they had been while the newborn softly (or loudly?) cried. But the obscurity of this scene hide the cosmic significance of the moment: in the weakness of a baby, God had come to earth.

Both this song and Mary did You Know? were written in 1984. They both explore the mystery of the incarnation and reflect on Mary’s ponderings (cf. Luke 2:19). Both expand the scope and implications of his birth beyond the birth itself. That is in keeping with the biblical emphasis on Jesus’ birth. Luke records the events surrounding Jesus’ birth. Matthew gives an account of Joseph’s part in the birth and escape to Egypt. John gives us this wonderful cosmic and eternal significance of the Word becoming flesh. Mark makes no mention of it all. Paul mentions it in Galatians 4.

But the Gospel writers spend paragraphs and pages recounting Jesus’ earthly ministry. As much as 1/3 of the Gospels focus on the last week of Jesus’ earthly life. As one website puts it: The break down according to each of the Gospels:

  • A third of Matthew, from Matthew 21-28
  • A third of Mark, from Mark 11-16
  • A quarter of Luke, from Luke 19-24
  • Nearly half of John, from John 12-20

This song pays homage to that reality. As good as Jesus’ birth is – and it is good news! – the rest of the story is being lived out and will culminate on the Great Last Day and the life of the world to come.

In the First Light

In the first light of a new day
No one knew He had arrived
Things continued as they had been
While a newborn softly cried.
But the heavens wrapped in wonder
Knew the meaning of His birth
In the weakness of a baby
They knew God had come to earth.

As His mother held him closely,
It was hard to understand
That this baby not yet speaking
Was the Word of God to man.
He would tell them of His kingdom,
But their hearts would not believe
They would hate Him and in anger
They would nail Him to a tree.

But the sadness would be broken
As the song of life arose
And the First born of creation
Would ascend and take his throne.
He had left it to redeem us,
But before His life began
He knew He’d come back not as a baby
But as The Lord of ev’ry man.

Hear the angels as they’re singing
On the morning of His birth
But how much greater will our song be
When He comes again to earth
When He comes again

Hear the angels as they’re singing
On the morning of His birth
But how much greater will our song be
When He comes again to Earth
When He comes to rule the Earth!
When He comes back, When He comes back
To rule the Earth!

Source: Musixmatch
Songwriters: Robert John Kauflin
In the First Light lyrics © Bridge Building Music, Organon Key Music

PS: You might find it interesting to read this biblical examination of the song.

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