I was walking last night with Shiloh around the town square and we were enjoying all of the festive lights strung across the light posts, buildings, and the Christmas tree in the gazebo. It was pitch black all around us, but it felt a little like daylight with the twinkling lights all around.
Take some time, if you haven’t yet, and drive around the neighborhoods, park your car, turn off the headlights, and spend some time enjoying the simple and elaborate displays of lights around you and how they lighten up the darkness with the bright glow of Christmas.
When the Christmas lights come on, it’s not that we are fighting the darkness with the light; rather, we are revealing what is in the darkness with the light so we can bring healing, and even love, to those things covered up by the darkness.
Let me explain. I’m thinking of a version of the Christmas Carol with Scrooge singing “I hate people…because people hate me!” I have my own song. I hate plumbing and I’m absolutely sure plumbing hates me. My brain, for whatever reason, just isn’t wired to get it no matter how hard I’ve tried and my friends who really do know plumbing just kind of laugh at me and shake their heads. Honestly, we’ve gotten to the point where they tell me, “don’t touch anything, just call us first!” After I’ve gone about unintentionally destroying the plumbing project once again, my friends get under there and fix the mess I’ve made and I’m holding the flashlight so they can see what they’re doing. Because you really can’t see what you’re doing under there without some light to work with. If you don’t have some light, you’re just bashing stuff around and guessing what goes where. This seems obvious.
But we go bashing around our own lives without light way too often. We stumble around in the darkness of our lives and our world. Often, it’s our sins and hurts, addictions and pain, that we keep hidden in the darkness because we don’t want anyone to see it. Then we wonder why we can’t get it figured out or find some healing for the hurt because we’re just bashing stuff around and guessing what goes where. We also do this with each other. We see the people around us through the darkness of sin and our own hurts and fears. We don’t open up to each other but keep all of our secrets in the dark and then we wonder why we’re not getting anywhere with each other except bashing each other in the head.
We end up trying to fix what’s in the darkness in the dark and don’t get anywhere by doing it. We have to turn the lights on to reveal what’s hidden by the darkness with the light so we can bring healing and love to those hidden places. This is what our Heavenly Father has done for us in Jesus on that first Christmas night.
The Christmas story from a heavenly perspective:
“The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” (John 1:9-12)
Our Heavenly Father loved us so much that God did not leave us in the darkness to bash ourselves about in it, nor did our Heavenly Father come to fight our darkness. No, on Christmas Day our Heavenly Father sent the Light of the World into the darkness of our lives to reveal what was hidden in the darkness so healing could come.
“For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light…” (Ephesians 5:8)
In our brokenness we were hidden by the darkness of sin, blinded by the darkness, without any way of knowing how to fix what was broken in our lives. But Jesus comes with His light and reveals us and our brokenness. It’s not comfortable, but neither is plumbing, and the work still needs to be done. Jesus brings his light to show where the healing must occur and then does that healing with His own hands, both within us and for us.
As Jesus lightens our lives and heals our hurts with His love, we do the same for each other. Again, we don’t do this stumbling around in the dark bashing stuff around. No. We have a much better way to live and care for each other. Not in the dark, but in the light of Christ. By shining the light of Jesus’ love on each other and actually seeing each other, hurts and everything else, through the light of that love alone. Because it is only in the light of Christ that we can see each other clearly and share the healing love of God with each other.
It is this light that we celebrate that was born on Christmas Day.