One of our family’s favorite things to do on Christmas Eve was always to drive around and look at lights. Some neighborhoods go all out, not only in decorating their home and outdoor trees but in placing luminaries along the road or driveways. The lights are such a great reminder of the “light of the world,” Jesus Christ, who came to earth to dispel the spiritual darkness caused by sin. Jesus said, “I am the light of the world; he who follows Me shall not walk in the darkness, but shall have the light of life” (Jn. 8:12).
Initially, the created cosmos was in darkness–a darkness which God Himself had to create (Isa. 45:7) since “God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all” (I Jn. 1:5). But then the dark cosmos was energized by the Spirit’s moving, and God’s light appeared in the darkness. “Then God said, ‘Let there be light;’ and there was light. And God saw the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness. And God called the light day, and the darkness He called night…” (Gen. 1:3,4). This sequence of events in the physical creation is a beautiful picture of the entrance of light into the darkness of a soul born in sin. “For God, who said, ‘Light shall shine out of darkness,’ is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ” (II Cor. 4:6). The light enters our soul by His Word. “The unfolding of Thy Words gives light…” (Ps. 119:130).
This great theme, contrasting the darkness of the soul without Christ to the glorious light He brings when that soul receives Him by faith, is found often in Scripture. We are to “…proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light” (I Pet. 2:9); “…the darkness is passing away, and the true light (the revelation of God in Christ) is already shining” (I Jn. 2:8); “giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in light, for He delivered us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son” (Col. 1:12,13).
When the world became darker and darker (spiritually) because of sin, God judged the earth with the great flood. After the world was washed clean, God promised to never again destroy the world with water and He sealed His promise with a sign–a rainbow (Gen. 9:12-15). At creation, God pushed away darkness with His light and brought the promise of physical nourishment and life to an empty world. At the end of the flood, God took that same light and wondrously split it into its parts, giving us the gift of His rainbow and the second promise of life. But sin had affected more than the physical world. The spiritual was also infected, and a flood could not wash it clean, nor could the sun give it life. Another Light was needed–the same Light that shone in the beginning before the sun, moon, and the stars were put in their places. And that light was Jesus. Way back in Numbers 24:17, God told us “A star will come out of Jacob.” God hung His brightest star right over the place where His Son, the Light of the World, would lay in meekness in an animal feeding trough. Seven centuries before Jesus’ birth, Isaiah used the image of light and shadow to foretell the coming of a Savior for Israel: “The people who walk in darkness will see a great light; those who live in a dark land, the light will shine on them…For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; and the government will rest on His shoulders; and His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace” (Isa. 9:2,6).
Not only is light symbolic of life itself, but it also depicts God’s daily guidance for our lives. “I am the light of the world; he who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life” (Jn. 8:12). Since there is no darkness in God, “If we walk in the light as He Himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another” (I Jn. 1:7). Because we have received the true light, we should live in the light of His truth. “For you were formerly darkness, but now you are light in the Lord; walk as children of light” (Eph. 5:8). “…Let us lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light” (Ro. 13:12).
Since “God is Light,” and He dwells in us as believers, Jesus’ challenge to us is: “You are the light of the world…Let your light shine in such a way that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven” (Mt. 5:14,16).
Have a very Merry, Christ-centered Christmas,