Today: Monday, December 09, 2019

Light to Live By    (12/18/2016)

Darkness can be scary.  Children often need a mum or dad or someone else close by to be comforted on a dark night.  Even grown-ups can find the experience of total darkness, when there is not a glimmer of light, quite terrifying.  Imagination plays tricks in the dark.  We start imagining things, we hear strange sounds, we get disorientated, there are no familiar reference points.  

Yet some people actually like the dark.  Perhaps they like feeling scared or scaring other people.  Maybe they just like to be different.  Or maybe there are more serious reasons.

More than 300 years before the birth of Jesus, the Greek philosopher Plato made this comment - 
“We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; 
the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.” 

Jesus’ own take on this was to say that 
“the light has come into the world, but people love the darkness rather than the light, because their deeds are evil” (John’s gospel chapter 3, verse 19).  
People who have something to hide much prefer darkness.

Christmas shows up that contrast.  In the northern hemisphere at least, this is the darkest time of the year.  Into that darkness Jesus comes as the Christ-child, bringing the light of heaven down to earth.  That light has many facets to it.  One of those, which echoes the messages of the ten commandments and the prophets of the Old Testament, is that the light of heaven seen in Jesus and visible in the lives of many faithful people shows us how to live today.

If you have nothing to hide, you are not afraid of the light.  If you want to know how to live, you follow the light.  If you want to avoid shame, you live as if that light were shining on you at every moment.  If you want to live well you reflect the light and truth of God.

That could be scary too, or it could make us afraid of doing wrong in case everything we do is caught on camera, or in case we are found out.  But the light of Jesus shows us how God wants us to live - in ways that echo what good and godly people have always said - loving God, loving neighbour, forgiving enemies, showing hospitality.

The prophet Micah (in chapter 6, verse 8) offers these great words -
“What does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”


Jesus, light of the world, help me to face all darkness without fear but with your light surrounding me, and to live every day as if there were no darkness, only the pure and wonderful light of your presence.

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