The Light Of Life

A Story in Seasonal Segments

Written by Nathan Johnsey

 

“The Light Of Life” follows the story of a certain biblical character who, upon his death, was given a very unique and special gift from God. It narrates a single, overarching story divided into “bite-sized” segments. Each segment is inspired by its respective liturgical season (drawing on the themes, emotions, colours, symbols, and biblical stories associated with that season). The hope is that as the characters in “The Light Of Life” feel the emotions and reflect on the themes associated with that season, the reader would be able to share in that experience.

It is intended for any interested in connecting to the liturgical seasons in a more abstract way, and is accessible to children and adults alike and those well-versed in the Bible as well as those less familiar with it. While some biblical references may be obscure and create a bit of mystery, everything will be explained as the story progresses. Artistic license is used in creating characters and embellishing biblical characters.

The author, a student at Columbia Bible College, is writing each segment as the liturgical year progresses, and invites feedback in a desire to refine his methods and resonate more deeply among various audiences. Questions and suggestions are also welcome.
Email nathan.johnsey@students.columbiabc.edu, using “The Light Of Life” as the subject line.

 

The Light Of Life — Advent

Written by Nathan Johnsey

 

There was a man who died.

 

After he had left this world but before he had gotten to the world that comes after death, he was chosen for something very special.

 

He was given a gift; an incredible, wonderful gift. No one else had ever been given that gift before, and no one has received it since. This gift was so special and unique, in fact, that I was quite surprised when Celeste told me I could write about it. Mind you, I was feeling quite surprised already; I hadn’t ever met an angel before, and Celeste is a very unique and powerful angel—certainly not the sort I would have expected to tap on my shoulder during my evening walk! I’ve come to learn since then that angels (much like their master) don’t always act or look the way you expect them to.

 

But I digress (you’ll have to forgive me, digressing is a nasty habit I picked up). This is not a story about me.

 

This is a story about that gift.

 

After The Man had died and left earth, God sent Celeste to offer The Man his gift. She explained to him what the gift was: that he would be sent to a special place; a place created entirely and specially for this gift. When he got to this place, he would be able to watch The Great Things as they happened. The Man would be able to sit back and watch as the fate of the entire universe changed before his very eyes. This was the gift: a front-row seat to God’s great story.

 

The Man was given new clothes, clothes made with the special place he was going and the gift he was getting in mind: a long brown coat with a hood; sturdy boots; a simple lightweight shirt; and durable, comfortable pants. All of these clothes were new, but they did not have that stiff scratchy feeling that some clothes have when you put them on for the first time. These clothes felt as comfortable as your favourite pair of socks (and if, heavens forbid, you haven’t yet found your favourite pair of socks, don’t lose hope! I promise that there’s a pair out there waiting for you).

Once The Man was dressed and ready to go to this special place, Celeste explained to him that in order for her to bring him to the special place, he had to fall asleep. Now, normally, when you need to fall asleep in order for something to happen (say, on Christmas Eve for example), it is suddenly very, very, very hard indeed to get to sleep. But surprisingly, The Man was able to get to sleep quite quickly and without much trouble. The gift was just that important.

 

Everything was ready. The Man was dressed in his traveling clothes. The special place that God created for him was finished. Celeste was prepared to carry The Man, and she knew the fastest way to get there. It was time.

 

Celeste arrived in the valley. It was morning, and the sky was a brilliant, cloudless blue canvas stretching from horizon to horizon. She gently laid The Man down on the soft grass and rolled up his coat into a loose bundle, placing it under his head as a pillow. Then, she left him in the valley, the place where he would receive the gift. The place where he would watch the universe change. The place created out of nothing just for him, just for this gift. It was finally time for The Man to be given his gift; it was time for everything to happen just as planned from the beginning of the beginning.

 

It was time for The Man to wake up.

 

He couldn’t wake up.

 

The Man was stuck in that strange place between dreams and reality, that sort of dozing you get stuck in, unable to truly wake up or truly fall asleep. Sometimes this is not a bad feeling, in fact it often feels quite nice. But The Man knew deep down inside of himself that he needed to wake up, but he couldn’t, and that made him feel a panicky dread. Because he would constantly slip back into dreams (where he would forget that he needed to wake up), he kept reliving that awful moment, realizing what he needed to do but couldn’t, again and again and again and again and again. He would try to move, to open his eyes fully, to roll over, to do something, anything to wake up. But he couldn’t.

 

And so he lay there in the grass, with the blue sky above him and his pillow of a coat under him. All he knew was wanting so desperately to wake up, but he could not do it. He had been given his gift, but as hard as he tried he couldn’t accept it yet. He knew something very good and wonderful indeed was coming, but knowing that it was so close and yet not quite there sometimes made him very sad; so sad in fact that sometimes he would even cry in his drowsy sleep.

 

If you are still quite young, you should know that it is a very good and healthy thing to cry, but that is a hard lesson to learn. Crying only says that you care about whatever it is that is making you sad. If you are old (or, at the very least “less young”) you probably know that it is ok to cry. But it’s also ok to remind people that it is ok to cry—they often forget.

 

The sky during the day was a vibrant bright blue, and the sky at night turned into a deep dark purple. The blue faded to purple as day turned to night. The Man still could not wake up. The purple turned to blue as the night turned to day. The Man still could not wake up. He would not wake up for a long time.

 

The Man was trapped in his dreams for five hundred years. Day and night, night and day, again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again he tried, but he could not wake himself up.

 

But God is patient, and he watched The Man. And he waited for The Man. And he never, ever, ever, got angry at him, and God knew how hard The Man tried. The Man would not realize it until much, much later, but God was transforming this waiting and longing into a part of the gift. It was a very hard thing for The Man to experience while it was still happening, but it made the moment when he did wake up far more wonderful than he could have ever hoped it would be. The Man had the gift, but it wasn’t quite there yet.

 

Five hundred years is a long time to wait, but in the valley he did not grow older. The valley waited for him as God waited for him. The grass did not grow up tall and cover him up, and the air did not grow cold as the days and months passed. The valley stayed as it was, waiting for The Man who could not wake up.

 

When he did wake up, he happened to wake up at the exact same time as another man named Joseph, who also had been dreaming and was given a gift.