Light in Darkness
John 8:12 Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.”
The festival was just ending and more than likely there had been a great ceremony of light. It may have followed the lighting of the candelabra in the court of women, which would have symbolized the pillar of fire. Jesus uses the actual circumstance as a visual aid, to help the people understand where he has come from. The very nature of God is uncreated light — not a light that comes from a fire or a candle, but simply light emanating from the Father. Through the incarnation Jesus brings this light to the world. The darkened pathways are lit by his holy presence and he leads those who will follow him to life. John often uses the language of walking in his writings. The spiritual life is a long walk in the direction of the light, but to wander from the light means that one may suddenly discover that they are lost in darkness.
I haven’t finished celebrating Christmas yet! For all the years that we lived in Russia we simply started celebrating Christmas on December 24th and it lasted all the way through to January 7th. Then, the Christmas tree stayed up until old New Year on January 14th. What I discovered was a wonderful experience of relaxing and celebrating the Christmas season after all the pre-Christmas rush. I have to confess, I like it very much! So, while this season is continuing in my heart and life, we still have our advent wreath out and have burned the candles every day this week. It’s that beautiful reminder that the light of Christ has entered this world and is illuminating the pathway for us all. The light leads us back to the Messiah.
The light of the Messiah is meant to lead us on a spiritual journey that leads to life. It’s a little confusing to imagine why anyone would want to wander around the darkness, stumbling into things, and yet, that is what so many of us do. We refuse to accept the light. Maybe we refuse because it makes us a bit uncomfortable. It’s easier to stumble over our sins and problems in the dark because then we don’t have to actually look at them or take responsibility for our actions. We can simply blame them on the fact that they are in our way! That way we blame the problems, and not the fact that we are refusing to walk in the light.
The promise of light in the darkness means that Christ shines his light into the dark crevices of our lives. That may not feel very comfortable and yet, it is the only way in which we can come out of this bruised and battered life. We can begin to see the obstacles and we can go around them, or deal with them, removing them from our pathway. The spiritual journey will continue to draw us toward the source of light, if only we are willing to keep moving. God doesn’t draw us along by some sort of magic power, but we are to be in agreement and desire to move forward. God provides the light, we have to keep our feet moving! Together we end up on an incredible journey that leads us toward Christ.
The light has come and this is the season in which we celebrate his arrival. It’s time to stop stumbling in the darkness, accept the light and walk in the direction of new life.
Lord, I am grateful for your light. Please help me not to refuse that which you have provided. Amen.