The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.- Isa 9:2
At Christmas the lights come out. They are everywhere! And we love to see the lights on the trees, on houses, in windows, along fences, driveways…everywhere! The lights are beautiful in the dark of night because they offer beauty, hope and joy. But, without the lights everything is dark.
And, most of the year we don’t have the Christmas lights, so, generally where they were is once again dark. Isaiah speaks of people living in darkness—a spiritual darkness, which is deep and all-pervasive. It is true that we don’t know what we don’t know. If all you know is darkness, how can you know what light is? If you’ve lived in a cave all your life, how would know what the sun is or the light that it gives? You wouldn’t. Maybe someone could describe it, but unless you experience it, you just can’t comprehend it.
Likewise, for people living in the darkness of sin–how can they know anything else? Scripture speaks of this world as the kingdom of darkness (Col. 1:13; Eph. 5:8) in which we all lived until God brought us into His kingdom of light.
So, what is it like in the kingdom of darkness? Well, I think the first thing I would suggest is that you don’t know you are in a kingdom of darkness. If you don’t know light, then darkness seems to be normal. The ways of darkness seem fine, because that’s all you know and that’s just how people live.
Secondly, the way people live in kingdom of darkness is different than life in the kingdom of light. Read what St. Paul wrote to the Ephesians 5 about life in kingdom of darkness:
“But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person—such a person is an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God… For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light…Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.”
Many of the life choices Paul mentions as wrong, bad, evil and not God-pleasing are taken for granted as the way of life in the world of darkness: immorality…today renamed ‘life-style’; greed…is just part of being ambitious; coarse joking…is just being one of the boys (or girls). This is all accepted as normal in the world of darkness.
But, along comes Christmas, that is, along comes Jesus like Isaiah prophesied and He brings LIGHT. “In him 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
And, life in the world of light is different. No more immorality—adultery, fornication, homosexuality, etc.—rather purity in body and speech. No more greed, which leads to idolatry—rather, love and selflessness toward our fellow man. This is very different!
It’s like those Christmas lights. His kingdom of light brings hope, joy, and beauty. And, where are the real Christmas lights that give off the light of Christ’s kingdom of light?
Jesus said this about His people: “You are the light of the world.” Peter picked up that thought and wrote: “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” –I Pet 2:9
May this Christmas season keep you in the Light of Christ and may His light in you shine forth in this dark world to His praise and glory. Amen.