Merry Christmas! It’s been a joyous week having our children and grandsons home for the holidays. We enjoyed worshipping our Lord with them in the beautiful Candlelight Christmas Eve Service at Woodland Church. During that service we joined with a packed congregation to sing and receive communion together. It is always a service that I look forward to preparing and preaching the message from God’s Word.
This morning a man sent me a message to say that his mother who had been “mad” at God was lifted up and given new hope last night. Across the sanctuary there were people who looked up and acknowledged their need for God’s forgiveness offered in Christ. I watched little children smiling and filled with wonder worship the Lord. The great joy that filled my heart was when several families who have recently come to faith in Christ; lit their candles and sang with joy!
This Christmas we have focused for five services on the prologue to the Gospel of John. John declares, “In him [Jesus] was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” (John 1:4–5)
Darkness will not prevail over the light. The first time I visited Carlsbad Caverns, I was fascinated by all of the sights. Our guide switched out the lights and then asked us to hold our hands in front of our faces. I knew my hand was there, but in complete darkness, I couldn’t see anything. He switched on a flashlight and gave a brief and unforgettable talk about the effects of absolute darkness. Then he switched on the colorful cavern lights and everyone began to laugh and applaud the light.
It is what happens in the darkness of life that we discover new life in Christ! It’s what happens when we walk through dark times in life and God’s light breaks through. It’s the joy of knowing that the Light of the world lives within us! Like Mary and Joseph we may not always understand what God is doing, but we know for sure God has a plan and purpose that will prevail! “… the LORD’s purpose will prevail.” (Proverbs 19:21)
No wonder we can clap and shout with joy, Merry Christmas! “Come, everyone! Clap your hands! Shout to God with joyful praise!” (Psalm 47:1) The Message translation of this verse, “Applause, everyone. Bravo, bravissimo! Shout God-songs at the top of your lungs!”
When I first began thinking about this passage’s theme, my thoughts were, “how can I prepare five messages about light?” As always the Scriptures just cannot be exhausted, I can, but not the Bible.