I cannot think of a metaphor that more fully describes the reality of the Christmas celebration than the image of light. The Christmas season is synonymous with the invasion of lights, and rightly so. There are lights on houses, lights on trees, lights in windows, lights on public buildings, lights, lights, lights. And so it was that very first Christmas when light pierced the darkness and forever changed the world. The Apostle John tells us that it was the source of life itself that invaded a world gone dark and dead with sin. And that life was the light of men. John goes even further than that. And here the secularists get a little twitchy. He says, “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” (Jn.1:5)
Our modern, sophisticated, evolved society does not like to think of itself as being in the dark. Darkness brings images of ignorance, futility, and death. Darkness is the absence of something immeasurably more substantial and real. We are far more comfortable thinking of our world as containing a thousand points of light with tiny pockets of darkness scattered about. Then we busy ourselves producing and marketing this artificial light for the masses. But the movers and the shakers of this world do not get the same say in the matter as the Creator does. And He says that there is only one point of light. There is only one source of wisdom, purpose, and life, and his name is Jesus.
At the appointed time, Light was wrapped in the flesh of humanity and made His dwelling on the dark planet. Imagine trying to contain the fullness of the sun on the earth when, in fact, over 1 million earths could fit inside the sun. What would be the result of such an impossible feat? Everything would change. Nothing would ever be the same again. To what purpose did Jesus come into the world? He came to overcome the darkness and make all things new. The dark planet would be dark no more. Darkened eyes would be opened and darkened hearts would be reborn. The darkness of Satan’s deception of the nations would recede into the corners and one day completely abolished.
Is there still darkness in the world? Indeed! It can be scary dark at times. Sometimes I will get a glimpse at some deep recess of my own heart, or I’ll read a story of some crime or atrocity, and the blackness I see almost overwhelms me. But it is precisely in the blackest of times that hope shines all the brighter. The hope of Christ is that light will never be defeated. Light will never give way to darkness. The world will never again go dark. The Light has come and He is here to stay.
Yet, there is a sense in which the unconquerable light of the gospel can be hidden for a time. I used to sing about the danger of bushel baskets as a child. I want to address that topic in my next post.