John 8:12 – When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." (NIV)
It was Christmas Eve when we entered the church, and we were all given a candle. When the time came, the Christ candle was lit and the lights of the sanctuary were dimmed. From that one candle the light was passed from one person to another, until all the candles were lit. The whole sanctuary became illuminated, and provided us with an illustration of the magnificent light of Christ in the world.
At this time of year we come once more to celebrate the birthday of a King, the Saviour of the world. From such small beginnings that day long ago in Bethlehem, the light of Christ has grown until it has filled the hearts of believers everywhere. This is because Jesus overcame the darkness when He rose from the dead at Easter. Our faith carries on in that light, and Christmas has become filled with many happy traditions.
Unfortunately, the darkness continues to haunt us. For most of us, Christmas will bring with it the memories of loved ones no longer with us. Some of us will reflect upon the sadness of September 11th. War has taken loved ones, and military personnel are serving their countries in foreign lands, away from home. Others will be unable to gather together at Christmastime, which has become a joyous tradition for many. The darkness can be very deep, but the good news is that light always overcomes darkness. That's why Jesus is the light of the world.
John 16:33 – [Jesus said,] "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." (NIV)
By rising from the dead, Jesus defeated the worst darkness this world has to offer. The fact that God said, when He created the world, that the light was good, reminds us of God's goodness to humankind. Because of Christ's victory, let us not dwell on the darkness around us, but rather let us dwell on the light. For God sent the light for us to see, and in seeing Jesus Christ, the light of the world, and believing in Him, we shall have strength for today and hope for tomorrow.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, be close to us this day as we come to You, giving thanks for the light of the world, Jesus Christ, whose birth we celebrate. We pray for peace in the world through Him, and for peace in our hearts through Him. Let the joy You sent to us at Christmastime be our joy everlasting. In and through our Saviour Jesus Christ, we pray. Amen.