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Christmas Traditions: Lights

Big Idea: Only the light of Christmas dispels the darkness of winter!

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We tend to associate darkness with scary things. The truth is, we live in a dark scary world where greed, corruption and violence lurk. Here's the reality - a scary darkness doesn't just lurk out there. Scary darkness also lurks in our souls. Because here's a news flash - all of us - every single one of us - have dark spots inside of us. Every one of us have shadowy places that exist inside. All of us have had dark thoughts. Everyone. All of us have had dark attitudes. We've had dark emotions. We've even had darkish feelings. All of us have had these things, so much so that if we were to take any one of those, from any one of us, and put them up

on a screen right now, we'd be so ashamed we'd run out the door with our head in our hands. All of us have darkness in our hearts and the bad news is that our outer and inner world can be a very dark place and so sadly, these dark actions - even dark addictions - these darken dysfunctions can actually overshadow your whole life.

But the good news is that at Christmas, the very first Christmas, Jesus Christ came into the world to pull us from the shadows and to dispel the darkness with his light. We're in John, chapter 1 and verses 4 and 5 of Jesus coming into the world, at Christmas.

Scripture says "In Him was life and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it.” Notice the word “light” occurs two times - LIGHT of men; LIGHT shines in the darkness. This term light here's referring to Jesus himself, describing Jesus as the light. In fact, God Himself is referred to as “light” over 200 times in the scriptures. In verse 5, the word “darkness” occurs two times. Now most people tend to view darkness and light as opposites. They are not. Darkness is not the opposite of light. Darkness is the absence of light. You can't measure dark, you measure light. Darkness is the absence of light. The condition of being without light. In the beginning, God did not say, “Let there be dark!”

“In Him was life and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it.”
— John 1:4-5 ESV

Darkness is the natural state of things before God fills them. Darkness is the natural state of things before God fills them. Darkness is also the natural state of our souls before the light of Christ fills it. Like a winter landscape scene that never saw a ray of sunlight. Here's an irony, when it comes to the Christmas season, Christmas season tends to intensify what's already true about you. Always intensifies what's already true about me. So if you're like a busy person, all of the busy activity of the holiday season will turn you into a crazy busy person. If you are already an angry person, the stress and the hassles of Christmas will turn you into a very angry person. And if you're already a lonely person, the crowds and the gatherings of Christmas will cause you to feel like a very lonely person.

What's the state of your soul right now? Is it cold? Dark? Is it wintry? Because here's the good news: It doesn't have to stay that way. It doesn't have to stay that way. I want to draw your attention to the word “overcome.” It says the light shines in the dark but the darkness cannot overcome it. In the original language in which the New Testament was written - in Koine Greek - the word “overcome” is "katalambano" - literally refers to extinguishing a flame. Putting out a light. Light by its very nature overpowers the darkness. Whatever darkness overshadows, the presence of light overcomes it. In other words, darkness is defenseless against light. No matter how dark your doubts may be. No matter how dark your despair. No matter how dark the dysfunction, there is no darkness that cannot be overcome by the light of Christ's presence and Jesus.


Turn your face to the sun and the shadows will fall behind you
— New Zealand Proverb

Next Steps

Read the compilation of Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s Christmas letters and reflections titled, “God is in the Manger” here