“If Jesus Hadn’t Come Then the Light Would Not Be Shining in the Darkness”
Luke 2:1-20 & John 1:1-18
Stephens City UMC
December 24, 2012
I. So much of what Christmas is about concerns light.
A. We hear from the prophet Isaiah that “The people who have walked in darkness have seen a great light, those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shined.” (Isaiah 9:2)
1. When an angel of the Lord appeared to the shepherds, Luke tells us that “the glory of the Lord shone around them, …” (Luke 2:8)
2. Matthew reports of the magi coming to Herod seeking help as they explain “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we have seen his star in the East, and have come to worship him.” (Matthew 2:2)
3. And for centuries Christians have read the prologue to John’s Gospel that describes the cosmic implications of God taking flesh in Jesus Christ with these words, “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 1:4-5)
B. Light is amazing.
1. William Harris and Craig Freudenrich, bothPh.D.s, in an article for simple people like me entitled “How Light Works” begin with this sentence “Light is at once both obvious and mysterious.”
2. You may not fully comprehend how light works but it is obviously there and you are glad it is.
3. Light was the building block of life.
4. In Genesis we read “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” (Genesis 1:1) and “while the earth was without form and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep” (Genesis 1:2) the Spirit of God was on the move and in Genesis 1:3-4 we hear these blessed and life giving words “And God said, ‘Let there be light, and there was light. And God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness.”
C. In our country and world there is a need for light because there has been a deep darkness for some.
1. The tragedy of the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School is not fully behind us nor should it be, and it is most certainly not behind the people of Newtown, CT.
2. On Christmas Eve some deranged individual deliberately set a fire to a house in Webster, New York, for the purpose of luring firefighters there in order to shoot at them.
3. Four firefighters and one police officer were shot and two of the firefighters died of their wounds.
5. There are troubled spots around the world – Syria, Israel & Gaza, whatever is going on with N. Korea and violence that is related to drug trafficking.
6. Some people have been informed by their physicians that they are now engaged in a battle with some dread disease and there are others of us who remember loved ones who passed away during the month of December.
7. The world has always experienced dark moments, but we live at this point in time and I have just provided a partial list of the darkness in which we are presently engulfed.
D. Christmas reminds us that God understands and that He enters that darkness for God is not afraid.
1. This is the same God who long ago recognized the chaos and said “Let there be light” and there was light and there was life.
2. This is the same God who sent Jesus to be the light of the world and as John said, “In him was life, and the life was the light of men.”
3. This is the same God who enters the present darkness and who through His Son Jesus Christ shines His light so that we might know that we are not alone and that the present darkness will not overwhelm us.
E. Back in 1977 the Disney Studios cast the Canadian singer Helen Reddy as the lead in a movie entitled “Pete’s Dragon.”
1. One of the themes of the movie was that Helen’s true love was a sailor who had been at sea for a long time.
2. Helen keeps the candle that is the light in the lighthouse burning with a lot of help from her friends as sure enough he attempts to navigate his way home on a dark and stormy night.
3. Without the light of the candle he might sail unto the rocks and be lost at sea, but Helen knows that the light can save him so she sings her pledge to be his candle on the water.
5. It seems to me that John would want us to understand that Jesus, the true light of the world, has been true to his pledge to be our candle on the water and to help us over come all obstacles on our own dark and stormy nights.
F. At this time, for just a minute or two, I’m going to ask our ushers to turn off all the lights so I can give you a visual about the power and effectiveness of the light God has sent into the world.
1. Granted there’s a little light in this room but notice the power and the effect of the light from this flashlight.
2. The light goes where the light wants to go.
3. It can go here, it can go there, it can go anywhere and the darkness cannot overcome it.
4. Darkness is not the strongest power in the world.
5. The light of God is the strongest power in the world.
6. Our worship services in December occur during some of the longest nights of the year because we are a people who acknowledge that there is darkness but we have seen a great light, his name is Jesus, he is the “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and the Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6)
7. If Jesus hadn’t come then the darkness would have the final word but Jesus has come and the first word of God is the last word of God “Let there be light.”
G. I can’t tell you what is ahead for you in life but I can tell you this, because of Christmas, the true light has entered the world, in him is life and that life is the light for all humanity, that light will forever shine in the darkness and in the name of Jesus the new born King I proclaim to you that the darkness will never, ever, overcome it.