by Marion Medina
The days before Christmas are shorter than any other time of year. The darkness closes in earlier and we compensate by stringing lights and lighting candles. Advent is the season of waiting for the true light to come. The four weeks before Christmas represent a dark, 400-year period in the history of the nation of Israel in which people watched and hoped for a Messiah who would deliver them from oppression.
The events in New Town, CT last week remind us of how profoundly the darkness is closing in around us, not just in shortness of day, but in deeply tragic ways. Something has gone terribly wrong with the world, and this time, innocent children bore the consequences.
And so we wait. And we cry out, “How long, O Lord? When will you set things right in this world?”
Things were right once for a short time. At creation, people were meant to live under God’s good and gracious rule, but rebellion has been the course people have chosen from the very beginning. When we go against the natural order of things – living under God’s rule – the consequences are destruction, chaos and death.
God saw the darkness closing in and came to live among us in Jesus. Jesus showed us how to relate to God, to others and even to the physical world around us. Then He carried the very consequences of our rebellion to the cross and tasted the destruction that was rightfully ours. But He didn’t stop there. He took back His life and defeated the ultimate consequence – death.
When we surrender our lives to Jesus we place ourselves back under His rule, and we become part of what He is doing to set things right in the world. Jesus said,
“You are the light of the world – like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.” (Matthew 5:14-16)
The Light of the world calls those who follow Him to be the light of the world. We have a choice to make as the shock of last week’s events fades and our sadness turns to anger. We can blame, shake our heads at society, argue politics, hate, or we can sit silently before our Messiah and ask how He would have us shine in this darkness. His answer may surprise us, but His way, the way of love, is the only way that will lead to true light.
May our light shine brightly in the darkness this Christmas, and may the Light of the World be honored in all we do and say.
Cover photo by Alita Maini.
Marion Medina is the director of evangelism and community outreach at Immanuel. She enjoys running, nature, exploring, traveling and spending time with the people she loves.