Summary: A Christmas message to remind us that the light still shines no matter how dark the world becomes

The Light Still Shines

John 1:4-5, Philippians 2:14-15

December 16, 2012

Morning Service

We live in a dark world

The events of this Friday have shown one of the worst school shootings in United States history. The whole thing is an absolute senseless tragedy. It is one of the worst mass shootings in the world. 28 people lost their lives Friday in a town that only had one homicide in the last five years.

Those killed include 7 adults, the gunman and 20 children 5 to 10 years old with a large number of kindergarten students. There can be little doubt that we live in dark days.

We seem to be overshadowed by darkness in our society

* Overshadowed by the darkness of death

* Overshadowed by the darkness of instability

* Overshadowed by the darkness of personal chaos

* Overshadowed by the darkness of weakness and disease

We live in a world surrounded by darkness. Darkness seems to sweep across our lives with little warning and often brings painful changes. Darkness reveals its power in the reality of tear stained faces and crushed spirits. Darkness seems to flaunt its power through chaos. The evil we witnessed Friday reached into the darkness of human depravity to shout a grim reminder, we live in a dark world. Darkness of evil gives respect to no one, its reach knows no bounds and the goal is to generate fear. Senseless tragedy that touches so many lives is nothing new.

1. Senseless tragedy is an often overlooked aspect of the Christmas story

One of the often forgotten parts of the story of Christ¡¦s birth is the act of a madman. Herod the Great was the Roman ruler over Israel during the time of Christ¡¦s birth. His jealousy over losing his power or authority was legendary. When Herod realizes that he had been outsmarted by the Magi, he responds with incredible violence.

When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi. Matthew 2:16

There is no number given to Herod¡¦s rampage but lives were forever altered.

2. Senseless tragedy is a sad fact of life

3. We are called to offer comfort and support

4. We are reminded that tragedy is not the end

How do we respond to such dark times? How do we answer a tide of rising darkness in our society?

We remind the world that the darkness is only temporary and that we have a great light.

The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned 6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:2, 6

Darkness Light

Temporary Eternal

Chaos Peace

Despair Hope

Sin Salvation

Death Life

Hate Love

Wickedness Righteousness

Jesus came in the cover of darkness during dark times

Jesus was born at night ¡V shepherds were watching their flocks at night when the agnel appeared to them

Magi visited Jesus at night ¡V they followed the star

Jesus came into a world of horrible darkness

Economic darkness: Poverty was extreme, taxes were high and people were starving in the streets

Political darkness: Roman occupation created an environment of upheaval, infighting among the Jewish rulers created internal strife and factions created an atmosphere of great danger

Spiritual darkness: Jesus was born at the end of the silent time. There had not been a major miracle in Israel since Daniel was saved in the lion¡¦s den. Religious leaders spent their time oppressing the people with legalism and regulations.

John tells us the purpose of Jesus coming to our world

4 In him there was life, and that life was the light of all people. 5 The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overpowered it. John 1:4-5 (New Century Version)

Light Jesus brings shall never be overcome by darkness

Jesus describes Himself as the light on several occasions and then describes the disciples as being light. There would seem to be a contradiction here but the implications are clear. Jesus is the source of the light and we are meant to be the reflection of light. The moon does not generate its own light but no one would say that the moon does not give light.

There are two ways of spreading light; to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it. Edith Wharton

The imagery is powerful because of the power that light brings. Think about how light has influence

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