The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.
Have you ever been camping and need to make a trip to the latrine in the woods in the middle of the night to relieve a physical need and you discover that the batteries are down in your flashlight? You’d hate like everything, to wake up your friend or loved one who is camping with you to borrow their flashlight. Well, John is saying that the light that Jesus brings into the world does not run on batteries that deplete in power. This light is the perpetual God light, His Son, Jesus Christ, who was born in a manger in Bethlehem. And John says that the light of Christ will always overcome the darkness of our lives and our world.
Today as I write this on Dec. 26, I passed by our neighbor’s house and he was dismantling all of his outdoor Christmas lights. I felt sad for him and all of the people in our neighborhood that had enjoyed the manger scene in his yard. It made me wish that Christmas would last longer, but for that household, Christmas is over. When I think about the church year, Lent lasts six weeks, Easter seven weeks, Pentecost at least three times that and yet, we have only two weeks for Christmas. Really, our society only considers that it is important enough for two or three days because everyone has to get ready to celebrate New Year’s Eve. I think it is important for us to be reminded that this light of God that has come into the world that God created and loves, lights our darkness and sees us through all of the darkest and most terrible moments of our lives.
The light of Christ says to me that our lives matter to God. We matter so much that God made the decision to become human, like us, and share our mortal life and death, and defeat death with resurrection so that we might enjoy God’s eternal life, and learn how to love as God loves the world.
As we think about the difficult year of 2020, this coronavirus pandemic we have experienced and still live with, it matters so much to me that our welfare is of tremendous importance to God.
There is no worry or fear too small or, no challenge too great that God will not share our worries and our challenges. God is so eager to equip and empower us, to share our worries and our challenges, as well as our joys and hopes with each other. Because God has reached out to us as a human, and because he has reached out to all of humanity in love, God has empowered us to extend God’s light of Christ to all those around us. So perhaps we need to think of Christmas all year long instead of a mere two weeks or twelve days. We have been empowered to grab hold of the opportunity God has given us to share His love with others all year long every year of our earthbound lives.
That would mean that God’s love batteries would keep His light shining in us eternally and the darkness of our world will never overcome it. I pray for you happy and brilliant shining with the love of Christ in the year of our Lord 2021.
- What would it mean for you to keep Christmas all year long?
- In what ways do we rush through Christmas in the days following Christmas Day?
- How can you keep Christmas in your mind and heart all year long?
- Can you stop and think of some the ways that the light of Christ shines through you?
Sue is NLS Spiritual Director, since 2019 and is a retired Lutheran Pastor (ELCA). Active in VdC since 1995, she has served two terms on the Board of the Texas VdC Secretariat, and also on the Texas Gulf Coast VdC Board as Spiritual Director since its start-up in 2017.