John 1:9-13(NIV): The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God – children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.
Jesus came into a world that was filled with darkness. Christ came to give hope to those who had lost all hope. The Roman Empire had crushed the hopes of the people living in Palestine; they did not have a future it would seem, until the light of Christ appeared. The prophet Isaiah foretold this coming of the Messiah in Isaiah 9:2: “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.” Today, we know Christ to be the light and the hope of the world. As believers, we acknowledge that Christ has already defeated the dark and powerful forces of evil. We have the light of Christ to guide us through this dark, perilous world.
As I walked today in the gloom and fog of a December afternoon, I thought about these words from Isaiah, which Matthews repeats in his gospel account of Jesus. Often, we become so accustomed to the darkness and despair around us, that we live out our lives in hopelessness and fear. It’s so easy to focus on the bad things that we see and encounter on a daily basis. We turn on the news and we are bombarded with current events that are filled with evil and darkness. Christians are especially under attack around the globe for their refusal to deny the name of Christ, whom the world does not recognize.
Those of us who believe in Christ and are not afraid to profess his name are also coming under attack from those who would prohibit us from public prayer and the mention of Christ during the season of Christmas. We are told to be considerate of others, to not offend anyone who does not believe in Christ, as the only way to God. And yes, there are times when the Bible teaches us to answer others in a kind way that will lead them to belief in Christ, instead of alienating them further from the truth that is Christ. The time has come for those of us who call ourselves followers of Christ to stand firm and acknowledge Christ as the true light of the world. This December, remember the real reason behind the Christian celebration of Christmas. Remember the true light of the world – Christ Jesus our Lord and Savior.
John 1:14: The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.