Christmas can be a very tough time for those who have lost loved ones. That empty chair at the Dinner table is a sad reminder of happier times and the flood of memories from Christmases past makes the day a little harder to bear. This week we attended a funeral of a friend and then this morning we got the call that a family member had just passed. So this verse is very special this Christmas Day, for there is always hope in Jesus…and though sorrow and loss come into all our lives and we sit in the darkness created by them…we have assurance that we can rise on the wings of hope into His blessed light.
God is associated with light, for He created it. But then in I John 1:5, God is called the Light. While in John 8:12, Jesus called Himself the Light of the world. This type of light defines life, salvation, prosperity, wisdom, and justice and something every Believer should be striving for. But how? II Corinthians 4:6 tells us, ” For God, Who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness’, made His light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.” The answer is then easy…it’s Jesus. For when there’s more of Him and less of us that light can shine brightly from within.
The diversity between bright sunshine and complete darkness is a stark contrast. In bright sunshine, we can walk confidently, even in unfamiliar terrain, for we can see the path we’re following and the obstacles around us. But when it’s total darkness, we struggle to make our way…stumbling, falling, and lurching along…fearful of the next step. Isaiah 42:16 speaks of this, “I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth.” Allow the God of light to illuminate your path today with truth and wisdom.
I love nightlights! I’ll admit I have at least 8 spread throughout the house, casting their subtle radiance so I won’t trip and fall in the dark. God’s truth is like a nightlight into our darkness…showing us His way so we won’t stumble. But when we choose to not live by the light of His truth, we are easily deceived and blinded by lies that only foster hatred and distrust against our fellow-man. When we love one another, the light of God’s truth illuminates situations, obstacles, and personalities for what they really are…exposing hurting hearts and revealing with honesty how we’re more alike than different.
I can’t stress too much the need for you to be in the Bible…to be reading for yourself…learning for yourself what is said within the book covers. Devotionals and commentaries are good…but they’re telling you about God. To have a full, complete, and enlightened instruction of what’s in the Bible, you must read it for yourself…allowing the light of truth to illuminate the areas of your life that need change. So I ask you…are you brave enough to have the word of God shine a light into the dark places of your soul?
This verse tells us that even in the midst of suffering…God’s love shines forth and His favor surrounds us as with a shield. (Psalm 5:12) Circumstances can still be dark around us, but people will notice something different…a light shining forth from us, as we steadfastly put our faith and trust in God. Situations may not change, for we live in a broken world…but what can change is our attitude and reaction to them.
In those times of darkness… when unhappiness and turmoil have you crouched down in the valley of despair…God will speak truths softly to you. Precious truths that will encourage, exhort, and sustain you during that critical time…but it doesn’t stop there. God wants you to share with others these precious truths when the light of day finally shines again in your life. For after you have passed through the valley of the shadow of death, the truths God whispered to you then, become the lifelines for others who still remain in darkness.
The OT prophet Isaiah spoke of this illuminating glory to come in Isaiah 60:19, ” The sun will no more be your light by day, nor will the brightness of the moon shine on you, for the Lord will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your glory.” There is coming a day when God’s Kingdom will be set up here on earth…His truth and glory will pierce through all darkness, bringing into the light all sin and deception. On that day, the Lord Himself will become our light, and all evil will have to flee.
The verse written here was the fulfillment of prophecy first spoken by the prophet Isaiah, “The people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.” (Isaiah 9:2) Jesus was the embodiment of light and truth, and His message still rings true today…”Repent, for the Kingdom of God is at hand.”