The world feels dark right now. I don’t know if it’s darker than it “used” to be—I don’t know how you would even measure that. Man has always been sinful and has relentlessly propagated evil on earth. But currently, the darkness in the world feels especially palpable. I think this is partly because basic, foundational truths are being rejected by the culture around us and partly because, through technology, the amount of darkness we are privy to—that we hear graphically detailed—far exceeds what we were designed to know. Consequently, the darkness often feels inescapable.
The darkness we experience in this world is true. There is darkness. But every morning I stand on my east-facing deck and watch the sun make its slow ascent over the hill behind our farm. As the light streams light through the enormous Douglas firs of our forest and illuminates my little corner of the world with its warmth, I am reminded that darkness is true, but there is a truer story still.
“The light shines in the darkness
and the darkness has not overcome it.”John 1:5
That is the truer story, and it’s what this wonderful Christmas season is all about: the truer story of the light. It’s why we string lights and light candles and build fires and make merry with songs and friends and food on the longest, darkest nights of the year. We acknowledge the darkness, but the darkness is not our story. Our story is that light has overcome.
Jesus said in John 8:12, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” In this bold claim, Jesus declares that He is the exclusive source of spiritual light. He is not one of the lights of the world. He is the light. Apart from him is darkness. It is Jesus or darkness.
Jesus is the Light of the World. No other. When He cloaked himself in humanity on that Christmas night as Emmanuel “God With Us”, when He walked our earth, fought our same temptations yet lived a perfect life, overcame death and darkness on the cross so that we might not be overcome but live with Him forever, He showed himself to truly be the Light of the World. Because of His light, we are no longer subject to the darkness of the world or the darkness of our own souls.
After Jesus declared himself to be the light of the world, He went on to promise that we will never walk in darkness. Never. Darkness may be all around us, but Jesus illuminates our paths and our lives with His light. The darkness will not overcome. Darkness cannot overcome light because darkness is not a thing—it has no defining properties. It is nothing in and of itself. It is simply the absence of light. We experience it as loss, a negative space where light should be. Darkness cannot dwell, cannot co-exist with Jesus. His light won’t allow it. When we feel the darkness of pain and suffering, hurts and disappointments, heartbreak and sin pressing in on us, we can lean in, cling to Jesus, and ask Him to illuminate it all with His loving light.
Jesus said in Matthew 5:14,16: “You are the light of the world…let your light shine before men that they may see your good deeds and praise your father in Heaven.” Just as the moon has no light of its own but can only reflect the sun, so we too have no light of our own but can only reflect the son. It is Jesus’ light the world sees, and the more we focus on who He is, His Word, His promises, the truer story of His light that cannot be overcome by darkness, the brighter our light will shine, like a beacon, pointing a dark world to Him.
Over two thousand years have passed since that first Christmas, and the darkness carries on.Yet the light Jesus brought to the world is still the antidote for its darkness. In fact, the darker the world becomes, the more spectacular and noteworthy is His light. This Christmas is arriving into a dark world and unto a weary people. Most people who string lights don’t understand or know The Light. They sing about a baby born but don’t know what He grew up to do. They read of distant kings who traveled to worship Him but don’t know that one day every knee, including theirs, will bow to worship Him. Christmas is the perfect opportunity for us to share the reason for the hope we have. We know The Light. May we reflect Him this Christmas season.
Kara is the wife of 20+ years to Caleb and the mother of 5, including 2 through the miracle of adoption. She and her family live on 8 acres, raising cows, goats, chickens, and turkeys, as well as a large garden. She is passionate about hospitality, mothering, the intersection of farm life and faith, and finding beauty in the commonplace. She enjoys her classics book club, walking her country road, and traveling with her large family. She occasionally blogs at goodgiftsfarm.com, but you can keep up with her more regularly on Instagram @good_gifts_farm.