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Light and Dark

These are a Few of my Favorite Things

One of my favorite things about Christmas is (cue Julie Andrews)… LIGHTS!

  • Christmas lights hanging on houses, in windows, across mantles, down staircase railings, and lights on Christmas trees, of course
  • Candles glowing on tables and on mantles, casting a warm romantic light over everything
  • Fireplaces awash with flame and cozy warmth

LIGHT is also one of my favorite descriptions of Jesus.

Because of God’s tender mercy, the Morning Light from Heaven is about to break upon us, to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, and to guide us to the path of peace.Luke 1:78,79

This same description of Jesus shows up in the Old Testament.

The people who walk in darkness
    will see a great light.
For those who live in a land of deep darkness,
    a light will shine.”    Isaiah 9:2

Light and Dark

Notice the contrast? Light and Dark.

Deep darkness. The kind of darkness where men murder and steal and destroy ⇒ where they maim and torture ⇒ where disease robs happiness and cripples ⇒ where greed destroys earth’s beauty ⇒ where power corrupts. I could go on, but you already know the kind of world that we live in.

So does God! And his amazing response is to lay aside his glory and to step down into our darkness, as vulnerable as a baby. In the midst of this darkness and in the most humble and unexpected way, he comes to shine the light of truth and hope and healing.

He comes as Light – as Life – as Love…

When we enter a dark room, what do we do? We look to bring in light so that we can see and so that we can find our way through the darkness. In this dark world it is more important than ever to look to the light of Jesus to show us the way and to give us the “light at the end of the tunnel, so to speak. We look to light of Jesus because we need hope – the hope of a better future.

Jesus said this about himself:

I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.”  John 8:12

How may “likes” do you think that Jesus would get for this on social media? Maybe not as many as you would think. His message was, oddly, not very well received. But because he is God and he accomplished what God sent him to do (God’s Word not returning to him void), it has endured. Certainly the religious leaders of the day didn’t “like” his message. They would have been tweeting #crackpot claims to be light or #don’t see the halo. How many would have “followed” his blog, only to unsubscribe the minute he told them to “pick up you cross and follow me?” Yeah, maybe my finger would have hovered over the button on that one.

Yet, we don’t get to pick and chose with Jesus. We take him as he is, or not at all. We embrace the light and sometimes it is almost too hot to touch. But, if we are attracted to the light he gives, he receives us to himself and then, amazingly, we become children of God.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…Through him all things were made…In him was life,and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it…The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him…his own did not receive him. Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God. The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:1-5,10-14

Every one of us can receive God’s light and life. But we have to be willing to let God expose the dark and hidden places of our sinful hearts to the light before we too, can become light-bearers.

Sadly, there will always be those who will reject the light of God’s love – who will chose darkness – even those who will love evil. But there is no darkness in which light cannot shine. And there are many people in darkness who need the light of hope and peace.

In Light of This

We open our hearts to you, Giver of Light. Guide us on the pathway of peace until we end our journey in this world of darkness. And along this journey may the light of Christ within us draw others to the healing power of your immense love. Give grace  to overcome our weakness, and open our eyes and heart to see, and respond to, the suffering of others.  Amen.