“Light is for Dark Places” Christmas Eve Meditation

Light is for dark places.

Drive around the light displays through the fairgrounds at night and see how they light up the darkness.

Drive through the neighborhoods, park your car, turn off the headlights and spend some time enjoying the simple and elaborate displays of light around you how they lighten up the darkness with the bright glow of Christmas.

But come morning the lights are turned off because we don’t need them anymore. The sun has come and dispelled the darkness and lightens the world.

Think of all of the things we use to lighten the holidays:

  • A cup of eggnog cheer
  • Festive garland
  • Glittery ornaments
  • Dazzling lit trees
  • Strategically placed mistletoe

All crying out its Christmas time, time to be of good cheer!

But there is a truth here that we wouldn’t need to add holiday cheer if there was no darkness in the holidays as well. Trying to lighten up the holidays with festivities and lights is an admission of the darkness all around us.

  • Grief and loss of loved ones that is a palpable and very real thing
  • Suffering of those less fortunate who have little to lighten their holidays
  • Present tension of worry and concern over how to provide for today and what is to come tomorrow.
  • The very real darkness of sin that throws shadows in our hearts, on the people we love and between us and the God who loves us.

Yes, light is for dark places and this holiday and all year round we live in a dark place filled with sin and brokenness. But what we use to lighten the holidays are mere brief respites at best and at worse illusions of light that can deceive.

  • Eggnog curdles
  • Lights are missing their bulbs
  • The mistletoe can be scorned
  • And garland is just plastic after all

These things cannot lighten up the darkness that has engulfed our lives, our homes and our world. We must have a light that the darkness cannot overcome.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

John 1:1-8

 This light that John talks about is why we celebrate this evening and every Christmas every year because the light of the world is born on Christmas day!

  • God’s Word that was spoken into the darkness and void, before time or creation ever existed, “Let there be light and there was light and it was good.”
  • This same light that gave life and hope to the sin sick and broken, to those lost in the darkness.
  • This light whom not even a bloody cross or death’s dark embrace or the cold tomb could diminish.
  • This light that was not overcome by the darkness but overcame the darkness with light and rose on Easter morning to give light all of humanity.
  • This light that is the light given to our hearts that the darkness cannot ever take away.

Jesus Christ is the light of the world born on Christmas day and He is our eternal, never-ending light in the darkness.

We can take away the artificial lights, eggnog, garland, mistletoe, ornaments and trees because we don’t need them anymore, the Son has come and He dispels the darkness and lightens our world.

But if we take away Jesus Christ from Christmas all you have left are empty cups, cheap plastic lights and dead trees on the curb.

Keep the light of Jesus Christ in Christmas in your hearts and your homes where it belongs to lighten the world of darkness around you.

  • To remind those who grieve that it is okay to grieve right, but in Christ we do not grieve as those who have no hope.
  • To be with the lowly knowing Christ was born to a poor family in a manger made of straw.
  • To encourage those held down by worry with the provisions of God and the love of His people.
  • To lighten our sin-sick hearts with His forgiveness and Joy.

And then go home and celebrate with eggnog and cheer, garland and mistletoe, lights and tree if you like, but do it all in honor and celebration of the light of Christmas who is Jesus Christ born for us this day!


Published by philipmcclelland.org

​I am a recovering burned out workaholic​ who forgot I couldn't change the world. From the ashes of that not only have I found a peace from God that I never knew but a focus on what matters, God, family and loving my neighbor as God has loved me. My burning out experiences really drive my writing and how much I want to share all of the good God has worked through the hurt I've experienced. Currently I serve a great little parish in Northern Ohio with my wonderful family and our furry farm of five dogs, four cats and the oddball handful of fish. You can find me at www.philipmcclelland.org.

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