“I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12
By Kyle Idleman
When my kids were younger I’d occasionally hear a cry from one of their rooms in the middle of the night. If they would yell for their mom, it meant they were sick. If they yelled for me, it meant they were scared. They might say it was a bad dream, or they thought something moved. But really, what they were afraid of was the dark.
Darkness is mentioned about 200 times in the Bible. The Bible uses darkness as a metaphor to describe what life is like without God. When you refuse to follow His direction or when you choose your foolishness over His wisdom—you find yourself in a dark place.
It’s challenging for us to comprehend the amount of darkness that spans this world because, sadly, our eyes have adjusted to the darkness.
- An Amber Alert comes on the radio, but for us it’s just another drive to work.
- The news reports another murder downtown as we lie on the couch. We grab another handful of chips.
- A fatal car accident has backed up the freeway; we’re frustrated because it’s going to make us late for dinner.
- A coworker is arrested for domestic violence or a teenager commits suicide. We’re sad, but, well, we’ve grown used to it.
And it’s not just that there’s so much darkness out there; it’s also that there’s so much darkness in here. We don’t like to admit it, but too often we detect a darkness within us.
- Did I really just talk that way to my spouse?
- Did I really just let my eyes watch that?
- Did I really just cheat on that test?
- Did last night really happen?
- Where did that thought come from?
If I’m being honest, I must admit – I’m still afraid of the dark. I’m afraid of the darkness within me.
Are you ever caught off guard by the darkness within you? It’s always been there. We’ve grown used to it. We try to self-manage it. But there’s only one thing that can wipe away the dark.
The birth of Jesus is God’s answer to that darkness. The reason we celebrate each December is because into this dark world God brought a light. I love the way John presents the birth of Jesus and announces that Christ has come into the world,“The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world.”
Some 30 years after coming into the world, Jesus echoed those words, recorded in John chapter 8, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
Jesus is the light that shines into the darkness.
There are lots of lights at Christmas time. Dads get frustrated trying to string trees with them and entire neighborhoods get competitive decorating and brightening their homes. Before there was electricity, followers of Christ would light a candle and put it in a prominent, visible place in their home as a symbol that Jesus is the reason for the season – that the Light of the world had come.
What if this year when you put out your lights, or see a bright Christmas tree or a lit-up home, you let them remind you that into our dark world Jesus was born, and that Jesus wants to shine his light into the dark places of your life?
Perhaps you’ve made some choices you never thought you would and they’ve left you living with secrets and guilt. If so, would you let the spotlight of God’s conviction lead you to confess your sin, seek out accountability, and move toward freedom?
You might be experiencing the darkness of suffering – maybe some physical suffering you or someone you love is going through. If so, would you let the light of God’s joy come into your heart?
If the darkness of anxiety is hanging like a cloud over you, would you allow the light of God’s peace to dissipate the storm this Christmas season?
No matter how dark things may seem right now, the light of Jesus can still break through. That’s the point and the power of Christmas.
A light has come into the darkness.
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