The light that shines in the darkness
Christmas is a time of light. We see coloured lights on Christmas trees and on houses celebrating the joy of Christmas. The greatest light however, is the one from the infant child, the Son of God, Jesus. This is a light no darkness will ever be able to overcome.
We are all aware of the darkness in our world. There are times when darkness seems to reign and hope wanes within us. There is poverty, sickness, natural disaster, violence, corruption, terrorism, war and fear.
The light that shines in the darkness came forth from a humble manger in a small Middle Eastern village. This child, lying in a manger, grew up and became the wandering teacher and healer who invited ordinary folk to walk with him.
He healed people with physical infirmities, even untouchable lepers. He brought healing to people with all kinds of mental, spiritual and emotional troubles. His teaching was a message of love and compassion, clothed in the language and stories of earthy, everyday life.
He was willing to extend his kindness in a tribal culture to people outside the tribe. He healed a Canaanite woman's child and a man living in an unclean cemetery. He urged his followers to be extravagantly generous and to lend without expectation of return.
What Jesus was to the world of his time, he wants us to be to the world of our time. We, too, must be beams of light in the midst of darkness. We may communicate that message with words, but we also do it by our good works. Our good deeds are a witness to what we believe.
I am reminded here of a story from World War II, where bombs damaged a church building in France. In spite of the damage, the members of the church were pleased that a statue of Christ with outstretched hands was still standing. The people discovered that a falling beam had sheered off his hands.
Later, a sculptor in the town offered to replace the broken hands as a gift to the church. The church leaders met to consider the offer and, after giving it considerable thought, decided not to accept.
They felt the statue without hands would be a great message to everyone that the work of Jesus Christ is often done through God’s people. If there are sick, lonely, or hungry people around us, we are the hands the Saviour will use to answer those needs.
The Christmas image is that of a light shining in the darkness. May the presence of Christ fill us so that we may share his light and life in the midst of the darkness of our world.