I love Christmas, I really do! It’s my favorite holiday and my favorite time of year because the air is charged with a different kind of spirit and expectation that something’s coming. Even though I love Christmas and I’ve been listening to Christmas music since way before it was socially acceptable to do so (sorry to anyone who has ridden in my car in the last month), it still seems to sneak up on me, and then pass with more of a fizzle than a bang… so, in expectation of Christmas, and in an effort to get my mind right for the holidays, I am going to do a short devo every day leading up to Christmas built out of some of my favorite Christmas carols. I hope you’ll join me for some or all of these next 12 days of Christmas!
Remember when you used to be scared of the dark? Maybe you had a night light that you could see from your pillow that you would just lay in bed staring at until you finally drifted off to sleep. Or maybe you are just super brave (and a liar) and have never been scared of the dark. Who among us has never jumped at a shadow while walking down a dark hallway at night? I think that a childhood fear of the dark is just one of those things that is common to the human experience. As we get older we start to think more logically, or maybe we get more confident. I don’t really know what makes that transition, but when we’re kids the dark is a world of uncertainty, it’s where we can’t see and don’t know, it’s where the evil things hide.
So far this is a real bummer of a Christmas devo right? I promise I’m going somewhere. The Bible uses this same imagery of light and darkness to talk about the spiritual reality of Jesus coming. John 1 talks about the meaning behind Jesus coming into the world and who he is. It says, “In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” (John 1:4-5 ESV). The Bible calls Jesus a light shining into the darkness. Jesus is a light for us.
It’s not hard to see that the world we live in is filled with darkness, fear, injustice, and evils.The Bible tells us that apart from Jesus we were living in darkness. Now do you think living in the darkness is a good thing or a bad thing? Hint: Living in darkness is a bad thing from the Bible’s point of view. Just like you thought when you were a kid, the darkness is where the evil things hide. Darkness represents the evil of the world, sin, and death. The Bible says in 1 John (different from John 1) that God is light, and in Him there is no darkness, so if we are in darkness, then we are outside of God. But here we see that Jesus came as a light to shine into the darkness.
Have you ever been in a dark place and had someone shine a light in your face? It hurts your eyes right? Later in John, we are told that we loved the darkness (John 3:19). We loved sin, but what light does is it exposes what is in the dark. What Jesus does as light is he shows us the evil we live in apart from God, and he brings us out of the darkness and into the light. The reason that Jesus coming to us is good news is because we get to live in the light. We get to live in Christ, and we get to live with God. If we put our faith in what Jesus has done on the cross, we receive that gift and are set free from bondage to sin and death. We don’t have to be in darkness anymore.
I love Christmas lights. (Yes now we’re back to Christmas-y stuff) I love Christmas lights, and in the neighborhood I grew up in there were a lot of Christmas lights. People would come from all over the city to drive through this neighborhood and look at the lights. Police would block off the streets, kids would go out and sell hot chocolate and popcorn, and people would literally sit in their cars for hours just to look at lights. It’s honestly my favorite thing to do at Christmas, and I’m looking forward to doing it in the next few days with my family. There’s something beautiful and special about lighting up the darkness. As Christians we know that Jesus is the light shining into the darkness to bring us from spiritual death into fullness of life with God. The other side of that is now we are lights (Matthew 5:14), showing the light of Jesus to others. There’s something beautiful and special about lighting up the darkness. It’s what Jesus does for us, and it’s the calling on every Christian’s life.
We don’t have to be in darkness anymore, Jesus came so that we could be in light and life. Jesus lets us live in the light.
Pray: God thank you that Jesus came as a light to the darkness. Help me to live in the light and life offered by the gospel, not in the darkness of the world. God help me to live in thankful hope because of the light Jesus has shown me, and help me to show that light to others. Amen.