Light in the Darkness
If the past few weeks are any indication, winter has most definitely arrived. After being spoiled with moderate temperatures well into December, we made up for it with a string of sub-zero arctic days.
Now I’ll say that I don’t mind winter. In fact, I enjoy the changing of the seasons and the changing landscape that comes when winter changes to spring, and spring to summer, and summer to fall, and fall right back to winter. I don’t mind the snow. I think it makes things pretty. I can even deal with the cold since I typically work inside where I can add extra layers and stay where it is warm.
The thing I have the hardest time with in winter, however, is the darkness. It is hard to go from having the sun out until almost 9:00pm in the summer to it being dark before 5:00pm in the winter. The short days can be tiring and just not a whole lot of fun.
It is nicer when the sun is out, or at least when you can be somewhere with a lot of light. My thoughts about light came about because last week we celebrated Epiphany. Epiphany always happens on January 6th and is the book end for the 12 days of Christmas that are so often sung about in the Christmas carol with the same title.
Epiphany is the day that the church remembers the visitors, often referred to as wise men, who came to see Jesus some time after he was born. The intriguing thing about the journey that these visitors took was how they found Jesus. It took the light from a star to guide them to where he was living with Mary and Joseph. They didn’t have a map or GPS to get them to where they needed to go. Mary and Joseph didn’t send out birth announcements after Jesus was born inviting people to come and see him.
Instead, God placed a star in the sky and it lead these men all the way to where Jesus was living. It is interesting because this little light that came from the start that they followed lead them to Jesus who is the light for the world. He’s not an epic spot light that shines over everything and gives us physical light so that we never have night or darkness. Winter is a testament to that.
Jesus is the light for our world that has been rocked by sin, death, and the devil. We see spiritual darkness all around us. You experience the affects of sin in your life. Both the sins you commit and what happens when others commit sins around you. Relationships are broken. Emotional pain is inflicted. Sadness sets in. There are a host of other symptoms of the darkness that envelops us. Simply experiencing the death of someone we love shows us exactly how dark our world is.
I have to say that I don’t really like this darkness either. I’m confident that I dislike the darkness of sin more than the darkness that comes in winter because there are no positives that come from the darkness of sin around us.
The good news is that there is hope and our hope is found in Jesus Christ, the light of the world. The same Jesus who was revealed by the light of a star is revealed to you in the words of the Bible. God’s Word shines the light of Christ into our sin darkened lives. It tells us about Jesus who lived perfectly in our place when we weren’t able to do it. It tells us about his great love for the people who he came in contact with during his ministry and how he shows that love to us today.
It tells us about a love that was so great that it was willing to take all of the sin and darkness from your life, even the deepest, darkest, most secret sins and nail them to a cross. Taking them away once and for all. You have been forgiven. Jesus died on that cross so that you wouldn’t die for eternity and he rose from the dead, defeating sin, death and the power of the devil. By faith in Jesus we receive these gifts too.
Just like we must live surrounded by darkness for the season of winter, we must live surrounded by darkness during our lives. But just like the darkness of winter doesn’t last forever, the darkness that surrounds us won’t last forever either. Jesus has promised to return and when he does there will be no more pain, no more suffering, no more death, no more sin, and no more darkness. We will live in the light of Christ for eternity. I’m looking forward to it!