This is not a unique experience. When Jesus came to earth on that first Christmas, he entered into a world that was struggling. There were great political struggles. Through these political struggles, many of the “least” were most marginalized and found poor and even destitute. Spiritually, there had not been a word from God for over 400 years. The people of Jesus’ day were struggling in every way. And into THAT, comes the Savior of the World…
The Gospel of John describes the birth of Jesus in a unique way: “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.”
Reading and understanding that verse kind of looks like one of those Hallmark Channel Christmas movies… Jesus is the light and He shines in the darkness and the darkness hasn’t (can’t) overcome it. That sounds like everything works out. It sounds like everybody is happy. Life…Light…Victory… Isn’t this just too good to be true? In a word? No…and yes.
To understand that, we need to understand the characteristics of light and darkness. There is no such thing as darkness. Darkness only exists in the absence of light. For example, when you walk into a dark room, the way to remove the darkness is to introduce (turn on) the light. In contrast, if you walk into a lit room, you can’t introduce darkness, you would have to conceal the light. Basically, light shines into darkness. Darkness doesn’t “shine” into light. When light is present, darkness is eliminated. When light is absent, darkness is the result.
How does that relate to this verse in the Gospel of John? When Jesus was born, he brought light to the darkness of the world. That means that the dark world with its struggles and problems was suddenly brightened by the presence of Jesus. His presence lights the darkened world. This is GOOD.
However, just because the light is shining does not mean all is bright. We have the ability to block the light from shining. We can close ourselves off from the light of Christ. We can stop ourselves from seeing His light. We do this by our disobedience to Him and unwillingness to live our lives in His light. We call this sin and it spreads darkness into the world.
Here’s the good news… Jesus CAME to shine His light into the darkness of our sin. If we will open our lives to Him, we will experience the light of the world that shines into the darkness, and the darkness of this world can NOT overcome it. Now THAT is more than just happy Christmas memories!!!