'The Light Shines in Darkness'
"The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it." John 1:5
Have you ever been to a place that's really, really dark? I've had that experience a few times. Once, I was traveling in the desert at night -- miles from any town -- and as the sun went down, the darkness became absolutely profound. Most of us live around the lights of cities and houses and rarely see real darkness. As the night matured, the brilliance of the light from the countless stars pierced the black of that desert night. The sight was astonishingly breathtaking.
That remarkable scene in the desert pales in comparison to the light of Jesus, who pierced the spiritual darkness that had enveloped the human race for generations. "In Him was life, and the life was the light of men" (John 1:4). The light that John writes about is the revelation of God's grace, announced in the birth of Jesus Christ. That grace, that favor from God that we could never earn, is the hope of mankind. And no matter how spiritually dark the hour might be, the darkness can never overcome the light of Christ.
Jesus said of Himself, "I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness but have the light of life" (John 8:12). I recently found myself unexpectedly in the darkness. During what's become an annual hunt, I was tracking a deer deep in the woods of the hills of southern Virginia just as the sun went down. Darkness descended. It shouldn't have been a problem -- I had a flashlight, so I kept following the trail deeper into the woods until I found the deer. But just at that moment, the battery in my flashlight died. The darkness was so thick I couldn't see my hand in front of my face.
At that moment, I was confronted with a question: how I would make it out of the woods? I had never been in these woods before. I had climbed over various obstacles and through the thick underbrush to get to where I was -- and now, I had to find my way back in the blinding darkness. I had my iPhone. While it didn't have a signal strong enough to make a call, it did have enough of a light to allow me to navigate the terrain of the woods and make my way out -- with the deer and all.
The light of God's grace -- Jesus -- penetrates the darkness of this world, allowing us to not only survive as we navigate this world, but thrive. "...I came that they may have life and have it abundantly" (John 10:10). It is that coming of the Light into the world, the revelation of God's grace, the Word dwelling among us, the birth of Jesus Christ that we celebrate this week.
While the celebration of Christmas, as a holiday, is almost universal in the U.S., the comprehension of what the birth of Jesus Christ truly means is not. The skirmishes surrounding Christmas displays, songs, or programs make it clear that some love the darkness (John 3:19). But Christmas is the one time of the year when the door is open and the table set for us to openly share the brilliance of the Light that has pierced through the darkness of history to bring hope and joy to those who are willing to accept Him as Savior and Lord.
In the next few days, there will be Christmas gatherings with friends and family -- celebrations of the very things we advocate for each day here in Washington: faith, family, and freedom. Join us in praying that the Holy Spirit would open the eyes of those who need to see the light of the gospel -- and then pray that God will use you to share the love and hope revealed in the manger 2,000 years ago.
Merry Christmas from the Perkins family and the entire FRC Team!