John 1:9-10 The true light that enlightens every man was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world knew him not.
Christmas has come, the light is in the world, but it has yet to dawn on all the people, that is, they are still in darkness. No one likes to be left in the dark. In the dark, its hard to know where you are. In the dark its hard to know where you are going. If there is only a little light, at least you can see enough to not walk into walls. And that is the problem, for without Christ, there is no light. But some will say, what about the Old Testament, that was before Christ – where they walking in the dark? No, for their light was the hope of Christ coming, it showed them the way.
But many did not know the hope of a coming Christ, and many had yet to see the light of a savior who is born. They are in darkness. They are in darkness because they do not know Christ, the love of God made flesh, the savior come into the world. Certainly they could know there was a God, all creation bore witness that there is a creator. And not only does creation bear witness that there is a God, but our conscience tells us that there is a God, that we have a duty to him, and that we need to find a way to make peace with him. And though all can know there is a God, they are in the dark as to how they might make peace with him – for apart from Christ, how can one learn of true forgiveness, or that there is a savior, one to redeem us from the power of the devil, one who can lift the burden of guilt and shame.
Christmas is come, the light is in the world, but it is not always easy to see, in part, because we do not know where to look, and in part because we simply do not look. Is God at work in your life? When do you look? How do you look? What are you hoping to see? When you look at the night sky, do you know what you are seeing? Can you find the North Star, Mars, Venus, Jupiter – and if you can how did you know where to look? It was not by nature, rather someone taught you.
How do you learn about God and his plan? Jesus reveals him, makes him known. How do we learn this today? Jesus comes to us through our parents, pastors, Sunday School teachers – they tell us the story of God’s love and salvation – they bring light into our lives. They do this by bringing us to the Word of God. They bring us to the Word of God, and the Holy Spirit works through the Word, enlightening us with his gifts, calling us to faith, making us holy – as the Word takes root and begins its life in us – that’s why we talk about it as a new creation, because the Word really does change us.
We are changed because we have seen the light. In Christ we have seen not only God’s love in our Savior who is come- but we have seen that God has a plan for our life both for the life which is ordinary, but also that there is a life which is everlasting and perfect, which is ours in Christ through the redemption in His blood, that is the forgiveness of all our sins. In Christ we see the hope of what it really is to be the children of God.
Is this important? If we can’t see God at work in our lives, how can we show the Savior to others? And if we don’t see – who will teach those who are still in the dark? Who will bring to them the light of God’s love, the Savior of the World? Who will share with them the Word and make it known to them?
That is why the story of Christmas is so important, because it is the beginning. It is the light come into the world. And the story of the light dawning on the rest of the World is the Story of Epiphany, as little by little more and more come to know the love of God in Jesus Christ. What begins with just Mary and Joseph is extended to the shepherds who tell the story in that country, and continues even farther with the arrival of Wisemen from the East, who also return to their country, telling the story. And so the story comes to us, and we hear and rejoice – and yet there is work before us, for we look at a world that is still sitting in darkness, waiting to hear of the Savior that has come and of the salvation he brings.
You see the promise is for us and for all – for the Word says:John 1:12
We who have beheld the glory of the only begotten of the Father, who have had this light come into our lives – what are we to do? Is not our calling to let this light shine, so that all might find hope in the coming of the Christ, the light and life of the world.