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, ESV)
This Christmas season, I’ve been returning, again and again, to this truth – Jesus is the Light of the World. Come December, I am regularly lighting candles, hugging the warmth of the fire, enjoying the many light displays around me – the neighbor’s twinkling lights, the decorated tree in our family room, the garland wrapping its arms around our banister.
Light at Christmastime is one of my favorite things. I treasure it. But were I to plug in all the bulbs, light all the candles, and stoke the fire into a blaze, the darkness of our world and in our lives because of sin would still exist. All the Christmas cheer I could muster would not eliminate the bleak realities of this past year. The darkness is too pervasive to be wished away or ignored.
To borrow from a well-known Christmas song, the tidings of comfort and joy that give me sure, steadfast hope are that Jesus has come, that God has pierced our darkness with His redeeming light. John says at the beginning of his gospel:
“The light [who is Jesus] shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” (John 1:4)
Jesus alone is the Light of the World, friend. On this Christmas Day, I urge you – do not ignore the darkness. In a sense, it’s rather hard to ignore this year, isn’t it? Whether it is the aching loss of a loved one or the heaviness of living through a pandemic, do not push it aside or wish it away with some “extra holiday cheer.”
The shadowy places in our world, in our lives, in our homes are precisely where the light of Jesus Christ needs to shine.
We need Jesus, friends. We need the Light of the World not simply as a seasonal beacon of hope but as the eternal and illuminating hope in our darkness.
The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone. (Isaiah 9:2, ESV)
May we recognize the brokenness and pain in our midst, may we rightly grieve over loss; but ultimately, may we bring it all before our Savior who has come to us. He is indeed our hope eternal, the light that will never fade and can never be extinguished.
Grace and peace to you all on this Christmas Day.