It’s that time of year again when we lose so many hours of natural light and then, suddenly (although November is still too early for many of us!!), we begin to see many different kinds of light springing up all around us. Christmas lights now come as a welcome contrast to the decorations of Halloween a few weeks earlier. Lights and Christmas seem go together in our world, although sadly not too many around us seem to be looking for the real ‘Light of the World.’ Perhaps it’s because they haven’t yet ‘seen’ who that is.
The arrival of Jesus, ‘The Light of the World’, was prophesied by Isaiah in that passage which is now a famous Christmas reading, ‘The people walking 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. A subsequent prophesy about the Messiah in chapter 42:1-7 reads, ‘I will keep you and make you to be a covenant for the people and a light for the Gentiles.’ That’s you and me!!
In the New Testament it becomes even clearer that Jesus comes as the ‘bringer of light’. This is not physical light of course, but spiritual light that leads to real life. In John’s gospel, chapter 1:4,5, we read, ‘In Him was life and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not overcome it.’ Quite simply put, ‘God is light; in Him there is no darkness at all.’ 1 John 1:5, and if we live by His light, we also have the abundant life of which Jesus spoke, John 10:10, and it is this ‘light’ and ‘life’ that our darkening world needs.
As we were worshipping this morning we sang that lovely chorus by Phil Rogers, based on the middle verses from Psalm 36, ‘How precious, O Lord is your unfailing love, we find refuge in the shadow of your wings. We feast Lord Jesus, on the abundance of your house and drink from the river of delights. With you is the fountain of Life; in your light do we see light. With you is the fountain of Life; in your light do we see light.’ Psalm 36:9.
What a wonderful promise to us living in a world where there is increasing spiritual, as well as natural, darkness all around us. Jesus declared such a wonderful truth when He said ‘I am the Light of the world. He who follows me will not be walking in the dark, but will have the Light which is Life,’ John 8:12. Then it occurred to me that, like any light, the closer you get to it the more easily you can ‘see’. Having ‘Light’, living an ‘abundant life’, and ‘drinking from the river of delights’, it all gets stronger, and more real, as we draw daily closer to Jesus.
The apostle Peter wrote this statement to some early Christians, who were living in a very pagan environment, ‘But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a dedicated nation, God’s own special people, that you may set forth the wonderful deeds of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.’ 1 Peter 2:9 AMP. We have been translated from the Kingdom of Darkness into the Kingdom of the Son, Colossians 1:13, in order that we might shine that light into the world around us.
If we want to shine, to be ‘light’ in our dark world, it’s quite simple really, we just need to keep close to Jesus. If we stay close we will have lots to share, with those still in ‘darkness’ in the world around us, of His wonderful deeds. If we go back to Psalm36, we can see that the promises there about ‘light’ and ‘life’ are to those who ‘find refuge under the shadow of His wing’. Now that is close, and so we come back to ‘thanksgiving’! In my experience the more grateful I am to the Lord – that He is ‘my light and my Salvation’ – the closer we become.
The Lord is always with me, my Emmanuel, but I can hold Him at arms length by my doubts and my fears, or by my independence. But if I am filled with gratitude for all that He has saved me from, and for the way He leads and guides me through life; if I can be thankful for the ‘Light’ He has given me and the ‘Life’ He has poured into me, and thankful for all those times that He has been my refuge, even when I didn’t realise I was in need of one, then I draw closer to Him in my spirit and Isaiah 60:19 increasingly becomes my story, and my testimony in a darkening world.
‘The sun will no longer be needed to brighten your day, nor the moon to shine at night, for Yahweh will be your unfailing light; and your God will be your glory!’ TPT. Amen.