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Light for our darkness E-mail
Wednesday, 06 December 2017 09:00



On our refrigerator hangs a picture that makes us smile. Our three-year-old granddaughter, eyes squinched tightly shut, was telling us, “Look – the lights are out.” In her mind if she couldn’t see it, there was no light. 

This week, so we heard, was the only “supermoon” of 2017. But mist and clouds around Liberal obscured it from sight just when it was to be the biggest and brightest this year. 

Last week we started a series on the “lights of Christmas” which began with the light of gratitude, thanking the One born in Bethlehem for all we owe. An old prophecy written for Judah is applicable thousands of years later. “The people who walk in darkness will see a great light; those who live in a dark land, the light will shine on them” (Isaiah 9:2). This same verse is referred to by Zechariah (quoted in Luke 1:78-79); Simeon (Luke 2:30-32); John in John 1:9; Matthew (Matthew 4:14-16); and Jesus in quite a few verses including John 8:12. 

We can examine some history and qualities of light, which is a central biblical metaphor for Christmas. A short internet search turned up lots of pictures of Christmas lights, beginning when Germans in the 16th century placed candles on live trees. (They may have kept buckets of sand and water nearby.) Thomas Edison hung lights on his research lab near a train station in 1880, and by the 1930s many families had strands of lights or even “bubble lights” adorning their trees. At the beginning of the Space Age there were aluminum trees illumined by a revolving color wheel, and so Christmas lighting progressed. [Here’s a photo from 2009 of three decorated spruce trees in our former yard on Roosevelt.] 

The term darkness is used about 200 times in scripture as a description of life apart from God. The Isaiah scripture, written 2,000 years before the birth of Jesus, referenced the lands of Zebulun and Naphtali: “But later on he shall make it glorious, by the way of the sea, on the other side of Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles.” It was exciting for me to look at a map of Jesus’ travels as an adult. His path took him exactly along this route, through Zebulun and Naphtali, to Capernaum on the Sea of Galilee, where much of his earthly ministry took place. That dark land – and the places we live today – needed Light shined on it. 

Some examples of darkness in our world include interest in the occult and deviance, acts of violence, terror, mass killings. Individually, we also sometimes look inside and hate to admit the darkness that causes momentary jealousy, lust, anger – making us unable to enjoy this Christmas season of joy. 

Jesus described himself as “light of the world” and showed the way to live. His light revealed truth, as when the adulterous woman was brought. Instead of joining the accusations, he stooped to write in the dust and those ‘righteous’ men slunk away. Light gives life through our sun, and even artificial light will keep plants alive. We’re learning through advances in the use of UV and infrared that light also heals, killing pathogens and helping bring down high bilirubin counts in infants. 

As we joyfully celebrate the Christmas season, the light of Christ shines on and through believers. Jesus said, “‘I have come as Light into the world, so that everyone who believes in me will not remain in darkness’” (John 12:46). We can trust him to lead us through gloom, and we praise him for light. 

Lord, if for a moment we don’t see it, help us open our eyes to your Light. 




About The High Plains Daily Leader

The High Plains Daily Leader and Southwest Daily Times are published Sunday through Friday and reaches homes throughout the Liberal, Kansas retail trade zone. The Leader & Times is the official newspaper of Seward County, USD No. 480, USD No. 483 and the cities of Liberal and Kismet.  The Leader & Times is a member of the Liberal Chamber of Commerce, the Kansas Press Association and the Associated Press.

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