As I write this, Christmas preparations are in full swing, cheery and familiar songs are playing in the shops, and I’ve just put up my Christmas tree. Yet a glance at the news reveals other more sobering realities; not least the recent tragic events in Paris and the steady stream of desperate migrants seeking refuge. We can be tempted to think that evil is overcoming good, that the darkness is stronger than the light, and the cheerful beginnings of the Christmas season serve to make this contrast starker.
So I’m sharing a (reworked) post that I wrote last year, which seems just as relevant now:
A Light that Shines in the Darkness
In the opening lines of John’s gospel we read:
‘The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.’
As John continues, we begin to realise that this light is a person – and more than a person, God himself come to earth!
The Bible describes Jesus as ‘the light of the world’ because he is the eternal source of all life and light, and because he is willing and able to banish the darkness. However deep the darkness grows, Jesus Christ has the authority and the power to bring hope that can’t be defeated. He is the conqueror of sin, and evil, and suffering, and all the things that can make us feel as though the darkness is defeating us. And we celebrate the beginning of this rescue at Christmas.
A Light which Conquers
‘And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us’ John 1:14
At first the light of the world doesn’t look very significant: a tiny baby, not born in a palace, but in a stable in a tiny Jewish town. Yet we are witnessing the beginnings of God’s rescue plan! And what a comfort to know that our God became flesh, he lived among us, and he knows what it is like to be surrounded by brokenness and evil.
The light that Jesus brings is a light which builds; winning a decisive victory over evil and death at the cross. This victory reverberates throughout history. That is why so many of the carols that we sing at Christmas time contain words like JOY and LIGHT and PEACE and HOPE! It’s not false hope or forced cheer.
A Life-Giving Light
Yes we still live in a troubled world, but we mustn’t lose our nerve when the darkness seems to be all around. Satan wants us to believe that he will overwhelm the light, but the Bible never even sees this as a possibility!
Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12
We’re even given a glimpse of the end of the story in Revelation chapter 21:
“Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4 ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” . . . The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light . . . 24 The nations will walk by its light”
So if you are a follower of Jesus the light of the world, then you have every reason for joy, celebration, and courageous hope this season. It’s a hope that we must take every opportunity to demonstrate and share!
‘The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.’ ‘Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness’