Have you ever noticed that we seem to come into the world with a tendency to not like the dark? It isn’t uncommon for children to sometimes fear the dark and want a small light in their rooms at night for a period of time. Most will outgrow that and enjoy being outdoors at night catching fireflies or watching for shooting stars in the inky black sky. Some will revel in playing tag or other things in the dark and enjoy the night sounds that accompany darkness. Those born in the country will have a very different experience with darkness than those in the city or the suburbs where it can be difficult to view the night sky without light.
Darkness makes it hard for us to find our way (whether in our house or outside) or to see any possible danger that is hidden. That alone can cause many to feel less safe when it is dark. Those who have visited caves beneath the earth’s surface gain an even greater appreciation for light when the tour guide turns off the light he is using to guide you through the passages. You quickly discover that total darkness has a feel to it that seems eerie and especially so when you can hold your hand in front of your face and not be able to see it at all.
In the beginning there was only darkness and Genesis tells us when light was birthed:
“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.2 The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.
3 And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. 4 And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.”
Genesis 1:1-5 (ESV)
Science tells us that fire was man’s first attempt to find a way to not only keep warm but also light his way in the darkness. When that happened will vary from article to article, but it was rudimentary at best as a way to provide warmth. protection, and a way to see in the shadowy darkness.
It would be a long time until mankind would discover a way to provide light by candles, lanterns, and ultimately the incandescent light most of us grew up taking for granted.
Light bulbs and lighting of all kinds developed after men like Thomas Edison and others around the world found a way to make lighting the night easier for us all and that opened the way for even more inventions and ways to allow us to live and move about more freely.
But did we forget that there were other types of darkness and a source greater than what man could create?
John, the disciple of Jesus, makes it plain to us in this passage:
“This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.”1 John 1:5 (NIV)
Despite the reality that God is light and therefore nothing was hidden in or about Him, it seemed that from the beginning mankind had a hard time sorting out who God was and what He was like despite all He sought to show his creatures in a myriad of ways. The choices of his creation set in place a separation that made it even harder since mankind no longer connected with Him in the same way.
God wanted mankind to once again truly know Him as He is and was and ever will be, so He sent his only son, Jesus, in human form into the world so we could see, hear, touch, and understand Him. Little wonder that light would be a significant part of his arrival on earth.
A blaze of light in the night sky over the shepherds tending their flocks would precede the angels telling the shepherds that this Son of God had been born. And it was a star that would guide the wise men to where the child was.
Many passages in scripture speak of Jesus being light. John again gives this straightforward description in his gospel:
“When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “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 (NIV)
But earlier in his writing he gives us even more to grasp and know about Him and the hope He brought.
4 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
6 There was a man sent from God whose name was John. 7 He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe. 8 He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.
9 The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world.”
John 1:4-9 (NIV)
And so it was that one of the central Gifts of Christmas was and is light!
Those who believed in Him and still choose to believe in Him and follow Him live in the promise that Peter writes about:
“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.”1 Peter 2:9 (NIV)
He calls us to walk in the light from Him and allow his light through his Holy Spirit in us to be light today in the darkness of life on this earth as his representatives. No matter who you are or how little you may believe you have to offer, Jesus would remind you of the amount of light that even a small candle can give to show someone the way.
And light will fill eternity as Jesus spoke to John in Revelation:
“The city has no need for the sun or moon to shine, for the glory of God is its light, and its lamp is the Lamb.”Revelation 21:23 (TPT)
That light that entered the world on that dark night in Bethlehem that we celebrate as Christmas doesn’t need to wait to light our way or give us hope until the calendar says Christmas Day is here. The Christmas Gift of light is a gift to enjoy now if you believe and when you do believe, Jesus asks us to share that light with others who are lost in the darkness and the troubles of this world.
One of the greatest Gifts of Christmas – light!