by Brad Bell
We should not be surprised by the darkness of worldliness and materialism which pervades the culture. For many, Christmas is simply a day off work, an opportunity for gluttony, and an excuse to accumulate more stuff. At best, it may be viewed as an opportunity to spend time with family. For many, the holiday season leads to depression and loneliness.
How shall Christians respond to such darkness? How did God respond to darkness?
Darkness and light form a motif throughout Scripture.
The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. (Gen 1:2-3)
Physical light came into existence at the spoken word of God. John later spoke of Jesus as the Word whom the darkness did not overcome.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it. (John 1:1-5)
Jesus, the incarnate Word, is identified with God as the one through whom all things were made. As John’s account unfolds, we see Jesus triumph over the darkness of sin and death.
Jesus goes on to describe Himself as the light of the world.
Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” (John 8:12 NKJ)
God responded to darkness with light. So should we. The darkness of cultural Christmas provides a backdrop for the radiance of Jesus’ light and the clear message of everlasting life to be proclaimed.
Numerous people, perhaps unwittingly, decorate in a way which harmonizes with the light and darkness motif when they adorn their trees and houses with lights. On dark evenings, small brilliant lights pierce the night air. May we see them as reminders that the darkness has not overcome the Light.
This Christmas, may we look for opportunities to proclaim the Light of the World.