Monday, December 17, 2012

Light in the Darkness




Scripture

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
(John 1:1 NASB)
He was in the beginning with God.
(John 1:2 NASB)
All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.
(John 1:3 NASB)
In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men.
(John 1:4 NASB)
The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.
(John 1:5 NASB)

 

Observation


As we continue celebrating this Advent season we try to comprehend the coming of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. The reality is that it is at times difficult to grasp. Humanity had, and still has, fallen into the very dark depths of sin. The result is darkness. What happens when we are stuck in darkness? Sometimes we become accustomed to it and we think that this is the normal state of things.

I remember long dark winters in Russia where the darkness became normal. One hoped that the street lamps would be working so you could make your way through the ice and the snow. Generally you carried a small flashlight so that you could try to light up the path which others had created through the snow, following closely in the footsteps which had gone before, creating the possibility of finding your way to the light. Even when we would arrive home there often would not be light. Entering a dim hallway one waited for their eyes to adjust before fumbling to the elevator, or walking up a darkened staircase. If trying to find someone's home you tried to count the numbers to determine whether you had arrived on the right floor or not. There you would be greeted by four darkened doors, sometimes with no numbers. Again -- out came the flashlight in an effort to determine, there in the darkness whether the destination had been reached. Maybe there was a number penciled in on a door post somewhere?!

For many years we burned candles every winter evening in our Moscow apartment because the building didn't have enough electricity for all the new electric appliances everyone was wanting to use. Gradually the building would go dim at night as more people came home from work and tried to share the power. Tea lights work for four hours! I know. They would burn every evening from 6-10pm in our apartment. Time for dinner, homework and when they went out, it was time for bed. The darkness had come.  But oh the joy of a crisp, cold and sunny winter morning! While the sun may not have arrived until 9am or later, the brightness of that light changed the day. At times the darkness had become normal to us -- and not until that sun-filled day did we know what we had been missing.

 

Application


The light of Jesus is shining into our sin-darkened world today, but have we become accustomed to the darkness? Do we feel comfortable with the dimness where we can hide away, hoping that we ourselves and others don't see our weaknesses? The gospel of John tells us that the world did not comprehend the light of Jesus when he came into this world in the flesh. How much more so now when we must accept him and who he is by faith!

One by one we light the advent candles. One by one the lights begin to shine in the darkness.  Finally, this coming Sunday there will be four candles lit until we gather to celebrate his arrival and the Christ candle in the center will finally shine. The light of a single candle can shatter the darkness. The light of Jesus can shatter the dark world in which we live. But how does this light of Jesus reach into our world today?

Have you ever wondered why the beautiful palaces of old had mirror covered walls? Even if you see a picture or an old movie you notice that old homes and palaces had gorgeous rooms but with many mirrors. These rooms were created before electricity. The candleabras would be lowered to the floor and filled with candles for an evening's events. Depending on the planned length of the event, 4-6 hour candles would be used. However, to increase the light in the room, the mirrors were placed on the walls to reflect the light of the candles, making the room multiple times brighter.
 

We, as God's people are called to be a reflection of Jesus Christ to this world. He is the light. We are the mirrors. If we are facing toward him -- seeking his face, then the reflection of the light will shine into our dark world.

We are the ones who are now taking the light into the darkness. The world needs hope. Think about where you may need to go and bring the light of Jesus into the darkness. It's Advent. It will soon be Christmas. The Light has come. How will we each respond in lighting our world?

 

Prayer


Lord, please help me to carry your light to this world today. Amen.

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