The Gift of Light

     In just a couple days (December 21st) we will arrive at the winter solstice and the shortest period of daylight of the year. Beginning on Thursday, December 22nd, the minutes of daylight will gradually begin increasing until we reach the summer solstice around June 21st with the longest amount of daylight and then the cycle repeats.  

     I’m sure you can all relate to how energized you feel when you see the sun after a few days of cloudy, dreary skies. Some suffer what is called “Seasonal Affective Disorder” (SAD) during the late fall and early winter when the hours of sunlight are limited. The symptoms are moodiness, depression, lack of energy and loss of interest in activities you normally enjoy.  It is especially difficult for those who go to work in the dark and come home in the dark on the shortest days.  Some need to have specially designed lighting to provide “light therapy.”  I guess the bottom line is, God created us to “walk in the light.”  We all need sunshine for our physical and mental well-being.

     So, one of God’s many perfect gifts to mankind–along with the most important gift of His Son to come to earth to die for our sins (Jn. 3:16)–is the gift of light.  We read in the Genesis account of the creation week that “God said, ‘Let there be light’ ; and there was light. And God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness. And God called the light day, and the darkness He called night. And there was evening and morning, one day” (Gen. 1:3-5).  Then, on the fourth day of creation, “God said, ‘Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens…and God made the two great lights, the greater light to govern the day, and the lesser light to govern the night; He made the stars also. And God placed them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth…and God saw that it was good” (Gen. 1:14-18).  Light is the basic energy by which all creation functions. The light from the sun energizes all earth’s processes. 

     Light is a special gift from God. James 1:17 states: “Every good thing bestowed and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation, or shifting shadow.”  John begins his gospel talking about “The Word” that was “with God and was God.” He continues, “In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend (overpower) it” (Jn. 1:4,5). He was “the true light which, coming into the world, enlightens every man” (v. 9).  Later, in John 8:12Jesus stated, ” ‘I am the light of the world; he who follows Me shall not walk in the darkness, but shall have the light of life’ .”  Our Lord was drawing an analogy between the sun as the physical light of the world and Himself as the spiritual light of the world.

    Darkness is often symbolic in Scripture of sin and evil and lack of knowledge of God (the “true light”).  For example, Prov. 2:13 speaks of “…those who leave the paths of uprightness, to walk in the ways of darkness.” In reference to the coming of the Messiah, to be virgin born in Bethlehem (Mic. 5:2), Isaiah prophesied: “The people who walk in darkness will see a great light; those who dwell in a dark land, the light will shine on them” (Isa. 9:2).   Christ (the Messiah) would appear in dark, despised Galilee. Unfortunately, many rejected the light that God sent into the world–Jesus Christ.  John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world, that He gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life,” but the passage continues: “and this is the judgment that light is come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the light; for their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the light, and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed” (vv. 19,20).   How sad that many still reject the Light, because Jesus came to pay the penalty for our sin and remove us from our spiritual darkness. When we acknowledge our lost, sinful condition and receive God’s gift of eternal life in Jesus Christ, we are “…delivered from the domain of darkness, and transferred to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sin,” qualifying us to “share in the inheritance of the saints in light” (Col. 1:13,12).  “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).  “For you were formerly darkness, but now you are light in the Lord; walk as children of light” (Eph. 5:8). 

     If we have received God’s gift of Jesus Christ, we now have “the Light of the World” living in us and it is our job as His ambassadors (II Cor. 5:20), to let that light shine so that others will be drawn to Christ (Mt. 5:16).  John writes: “And this is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is light, and in Him there is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth; but if we walk in the light as He Himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin” (I Jn. 1:5-7). 

     Many of you have probably experienced total darkness. How did it make you feel?  I remember our visit to the Lewis and Clark Caverns in Montana. At one point on the tour, the guide turns out all the lights in the cavern and it is a very foreboding, disorienting feeling when there is no glimmer of light. {I was reminded that the Bible, in speaking of those who chose darkness over Jesus, in whom is light and life (Jn. 1:4), will ultimately be cast into outer darkness eternally separated from the source of light, Jesus Christ (Mt. 22:13; 25:45; Rev. 16:10) }.  But, even one small light dispels the darkness. Darkness cannot be driven out of the world, but light can swallow it up. The reverse is never true, There is no such thing as darkness swallowing up light. God is Light, and all the world’s darkness cannot extinguish it, but must retreat before even the glow of a tiny candle. 

     So, let your your light shine. “….Proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light” (I Pet. 2:8b). 

Merry Christmas!

     Forever His,

          Pastor Dave

P.S.   As you enjoy the lights of Christmas, be reminded of the “True Light” who came into the world to die for our sins so that we could be removed from spiritual darkness and experience the “inheritance of the saints in light.” 

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About Pastor Dave

Until my retirement 2 years ago, I pastored an independent Bible church in Northwest Montana for nearly 38 years. During that time I also helped establish a Christian school, and a Bible Camp. I am married and have children and grandchildren. The Wisdom of the Week devotional is an outgrowth of my desire to share what God is doing in my life and in our world, and to challenge you to be a part.
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