Summary: This world can often be a very dark place - senseless acts of violence, hatred and abuse - selfishness, greed and anger in our own hearts and lives. A saving Light appears that brings genuine peace and lasting purpose. See how Jesus is a Light in the darkness of this world.
What do you do when you walk into a dark room? You reach for the light switch, right? For many of us, it’s probably hard to imagine living without that little thing called “the lightbulb” – that little glass bulb that instantly dispels the darkness and brings light. Can you imagine experiencing that for the first time? What a memorable and life-changing experience that would be! In 1893, Chicago hosted the World’s Fair. And one of the most memorable events of that World’s Fair, was on May 1st when nearly 100,000 incandescent lights instantly flooded the nighttime sky and illuminated once dark roads and rooms. For many people, this was their fist experience with this novelty called the lightbulb. That little thing – the lightbulb – has quite drastically changed the world in which we live and how we see the world in which we live.
One little baby – born 2000 years ago, in an overcrowded town in the Middle Eastern city of Bethlehem – one little baby changes everything. Now maybe you think that I’m exaggerating a bit. But I don’t think you can possibly exaggerate just how dramatically Jesus changes things. How can one child, born so many years ago make such an impact us today? Maybe we should back up a bit. In fact, let’s go back to the beginning.
“Let there be light.” God spoke, and time began. The infinite darkness was instantly shattered by light. God spoke and the universe and everything in it came into existence including the first two people who God had carefully, personally crafted with his own hands. These two people were to be the crown of his creation. They were meant to live forever in the perfect world that he had created for them. They were to reflect the glory of their Creator as they daily lived to honor and serve him.
But that perfect world and that perfect relationship with God was soon shattered by the darkness of sin. Adam and Eve selfishly thought that they knew better than God. They disobeyed God, and just as suddenly as light had shattered darkness, now the darkness of sin shattered God’s perfect creation. A relationship without fear, a world without pain, a life without death – was instantly gone! The darkness of sin hangs over all of human history and every human heart. We see it in the senseless acts of violence and the disregard for human life. We hear it in the hateful words and condescending comments. We see it in ourselves – selfishness that doubts God’s goodness when it comes to sexuality, humility and forgiveness. We are quick to grab more than we need, and slow to be generous with those in need. The darkness is deep, and it is deadly. It is a darkness that leave us lost, searching for some way to escape, to fix things, to get rid of guilt, find peace, and fix this broken world. So we find people that are trying to solve the problem. But let’s face – anything that sinful people come up with is probably not a real good solution. That’s kind of like the dying man to ask the blind man to drive him to the hospital. Not a real good idea. We need someone outside of this darkness, someone outside of this to step in.
“Let there be light.” Same God, but different occasion. This time I’m not talking about the creation of physical light. Here I’m talking about the light of rescue that God promised to provide. Like the bright glow of the spotlight that comes from the coastguard ship announcing rescue to those drifting in the open sea, God was providing a saving light for a world lost in the darkness of sin and without any hope of rescue on its own. This was what God first promised to those first sinners, Adam and Eve, a promise that burned brightly throughout the centuries, until at the perfect time and place, 2000 years ago, in Bethlehem God announced, “Let there be light!” and the promised Light of salvation, Jesus, entered the darkness of this world.
It is no wonder that the angels could not contain themselves on the night of Jesus’ birth, but shouted, “Glory to God in the highest heaven!” (Luke 2:14) because there, in that manger, in that one little child – God’s glory was being revealed. Now you might wonder, how can all of God’s glory be found in a newborn. But that’s the amazing part. This newborn is none other than the one who created light at the beginning of time. This baby is none other than God himself. I know it’s hard to fathom, but if God declares it to be true, who are we to say, “God, I think you might be mistaken.” The Bible declares, “For in Christ all the fullness of the deity lives in bodily form” (Colossians 2:9). And thank God that this baby is God, because that means that this baby is able to do what none of us could do. He is able to rescue us from the darkness of this sinful world. And that’s exactly what this baby did!