And so once again we have just celebrated the birth of Jesus, Son of God, who came into the darkness of this world to bring light and hope, salvation and new life, to all who would welcome Him into the darkness of their hearts and believe in Him.
It was a time for those living in Israel where Roman soldiers walked the streets. The glory of the Davidic reign was a memory and instead the citizens of Israel lived as exiles in their own land. Herod had built their temple and the nation of Israel was fracturing between the Pharisees, Sadducees, Essenes, and Zealots. This fracturing had intensified the weight of the Roman boot on the people as well.
Into this overwhelming darkness Jesus came. He came not only to dispel the darkness as the Son of God, but also to experience the darkness as a man, to identify with mankind, to endure the darkness, and then to conquer it.
Today we live in a world that can seem to be equally dark depending on your perspective and perhaps your location. The light and hope He brought are still there for each of us today and that light and the hope it brings is essential as we wait for His return.
Light possesses powers essential to true life in both physical and spiritual realities. In the physical realm, light is the triggering force that kick-starts food chains, both on the land and in the sea. It acts as a catalyst during photosynthesis in plants, and it provides sustenance for the survival of plankton in the oceans. Without light, our food sources would die and so would we. Without light, cold would overtake the earth and we could not survive.
Light is also the most important tool of guidance so that we can see and go about our daily activities. Man’s invention of fire was his attempt to substitute the light of day to fight off the darkness of night, to protect him and show him where he could find safety and stay warm.
In our spiritual life, light is no less essential. Light is symbolically the antithesis to evil associated with darkness and the dark realm of Satan and those “angels” that chose to rebel against God and seek to dissuade us from finding and living in the light, from having the light dwell within us.
As we enter a new year much uncertainty is evident throughout the world and headlines confirm it in minute-by-minute detail. The smaller world of our daily lives can be assaulted with uncertainty as well, whether it is related to health, a job, a relationship, or our family. It takes very little for that uncertainty to cast a shadow of darkness over our hearts and create fear.
But the good news is still the same truth we have just celebrated! God’s intervention is undeniable in the Christmas scene. He fulfilled to the last detail the prophecies from hundreds and hundreds of years before His arrival. His promises are true!
They are still true today!
Many missed His arrival because they were not looking for Him or not looking for the way God chose to reveal Himself. That serves as a reminder to me today. As I await the Second Advent and return, am I anticipating Him? Am I looking for Him with confidence? Am I remembering His light still dispels and conquers the darkness without and within?
What I know is that if I do, when I do, I experience joy! I also know that His light shines more brightly in me and offers hope of His promises to others.
As a child I was taught the simple chorus “This Little Light of Mine”. Many of you were as well. One of the lines contains the assertion, “I’m going to let it shine” (speaking of that light).
Of all things I commit to this New Year, that one assertion is central. I can only make that decision for me, but what if the rest of the body of Christ did so as well? Would not the world be drawn to that light and hope? Would we not help others find their way through the darkness to Him?
As we anticipate the Second Advent, let it be so, Lord!