"I do not like this time of year," I declare as I close the window shades at 5:30 p.m. "The days are too short and the nights too long." In Arizona, that means less than 10 hours of daylight, and for those of you further north, even fewer hours of sunshine. Compare that to June; timeanddate.com assures me that on June 20th in Arizona there will be 14 hours, 22 minutes, and 17 seconds of daylight!
I am always grateful when December 21st rolls around: first, because it's my daughter's birthday, but also because I know that the short days have ended for another year and the days will gradually begin to lengthen. I'm also glad that I live in the land of sunshine. I'm sure that I would suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) if I lived in Alaska, as that winter darkness always depresses me.
Luke 23:44-45a – It was now about noon, and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon, for the sun stopped shining. (NIV 2011)
The ultimate moment of darkness came when Jesus was crucified; the sun stopped shining over the whole land. In a time when the world was lit only by oil, candles, and fire, it must have been terrifying.
John 1:4-5 – In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. (NIV 2011)
But the darkness didn't last — the Light rose from the dead and lives in the lives of those who believe in Him. He continues to shine in the midst of all the darkness of this world, available to all who call on His name.
Because of that life-giving Light, we have responsibilities:
1 Peter 2:9 – But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God's special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. (NIV 2011)
1 John 1:5b-7 – God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. (NIV 2011)
Seasonal darkness can be depressing, but how thankful I am that we have access to the Light that shines in the midst of all this world's darkness. Let us walk worthy of our royal priesthood and declare His praises forever!
Prayer: Father, thank You for sending Your Son to give His life for us, to become the eternal source of light. Help us to walk in that light, to have true fellowship with one another, and to declare Your praises every day in every way. Amen.
Listen to this devotional
Listen while you read: "O Holy Night" (Lyrics)