For centuries our world had been in darkness. Sin engulfed the earth at the dawn of time, and has cast its long shadow down through the ages. The prophet Isaiah painted the picture of our condition with these words: “The people…walked in darkness,,,they dwelt in a land of deep darkness.” The landscape of the world was that of a fallen creation marred by our many sins.
Even today this picture of darkness is painted on the front page of every newspaper. Our TVs emit a continual stream of darkness, reflecting a world that has turned it’s back on God. These days are filled with hate, deception, lies, and perversions. Truly this has become a land of profound darkness.
But its into this dark land that God has come. He has transformed our hearts and lives with light and hope. Isaiah saw it coming when he wrote, “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them a light has shined.”
How has that light come? Once again, we turn to the prophet Isaiah: “For to us a child is born, to us a Son is given; and the government shall be upon His shoulder, and His name shall be called, Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
2,000 years ago God lit a light in a stable in Bethlehem. The light came to us as a child, the baby Jesus. “A Child is born.” One of us, just like us. ”A Son is given.” The Son of God, from His heavenly throne to the manger. The Savior of the world was revealed in the infant wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in the manger. In the deep darkness of our fallen world, a light has come! And His appearing transformed our hearts and minds from sorrow and despair to hope, joy, and peace.
This is the Light the Apostle John celebrates in His Gospel: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. In Him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can not overcome it.”
Darkness has certainly tried to overcome this light of life. Sin, death, and the devil would shut-it-down it in a minute if they could. Herod tried to kill the newborn King with the ‘Slaughter of the innocents.” Satan tried repeatedly to tempt and distract Jesus. The darkness actually did execute Him on Good Friday. And for 3 days, it appeared as if darkness had prevailed. But into that scene of darkness and death came a brilliant flash of light. Christ’s resurrection dawned with the Light of Life triumphantly shattering the darkness once and for all.
Since the Light of Christ first shinned in Bethlehem’s manger, there have been those who reject the light. They prefer the darkness of sin and evil to the light of God’s salvation. The Apostle John describes them with these poignant words: “The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, yet the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and His own people did not receive Him.”
But you and I – we‘ve seen the light, and we thrive in the light. We welcome the Christ Child Who has rescued us from the darkness of our sin. Today we embrace this promise, from John’s Gospel: “But to all who did receive Him, who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God…The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen His glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.”
In the darkness of this world, we embrace the light of Christ. As we sang last night: Son of God, love’s pure light. Radiant beams from Thy holy face, With the dawn of redeeming grace, Jesus Lord at Thy birth, Jesus Lord at Thy birth. Amen!