God in the Dark

By Janett Miller
By Isaac Harris
By Charlyn Valencia
By Chad Golden
By Bruce Riley
By Jonathan Cortina
By Kuruvilla (K.O.) Oommen
By John Dyer
By Abe Paul
By Jennifer Durrett
By Penny Jones
By Amy Owen
By Jill Asibelua
By Madi McGraw
By Jared Barnett
By Paul Martin
By Jeremy Varnell
By Norm Headlam
By Kristi Herring
By Alban Snider
By Sissy Mathew
By Shannon Pugh
By Al Palamara
By Don Robb
By Mike Pope
By Melanie Mechsner
By Kyla Mikusek
By Michelle Garza
By Armando Galvan
By Jeremiah Betron
By Camille Holland
By Rod Myers
By Shannon Lewis
By Chase Studdard
By Crystal Elwell
By Darcy Peterson
By Jason Elwell
By Amy Aupperlee
By Tiffany Stein
By Barry Jones
By Bryan Eck
By Tricia Kinsman
By Jason Stein
By Nat Pugh
By Sarah Kemper
By Dana Myers
By Craig Pierce
By Jim Woodward
By Lindsey Sobolik
By Scott McClellan
By Andy McQuitty
By Pete Hyndman
By Kevin Dial
By Jason Roszhart
By Harvard Medical School
By Justin K. Hughes, MA, LPC
By Sherene Joseph
By Earl Davidson
By Rebecca Perry
By Joe Padilla
By Christian Melendez
By Bruce Riley
By Isaac Harris
By Amy Leadabrand
By Ben Haile
By Shaun Robinson
By Natalie Franks
By Cathy Barnett
By Ryan Sanders
By Casey Pruet, The Grace Alliance
By Sharon Arrington
By Lauren Chapin
By Betsy Paul
By Alberto Negron
By Kelly Jarrell
By Michelle Mayes
By Jenn Wright
By Jill Jackson
By Terri Moore
By Robyn Wise
By Katherine Holloway
By Richard Ray
By Kurtlery Knight
By Bruce Hebel
By Neil Tomba
By Tony Bridwell
By Grayson McGovern
By Luke Donohoo
By Kathy Whitthorne
By Mike Moore
By Wade Raper
By Mike Gwartney
By Jo Saxton
By Dieula Previlon
By Jonathan Cude
By Ken Lawrence
By Jay Hohfeler
By Barb Haesecke
By Lindsay Casillas
By JoAnn Hummel
By Shawn Small
By Alice McQuitty
By Jonathan Murphy
By Peggy Norton
By Brent McKinney
By Irving Bible Church
By Irving Bible Church
By Ashley Tieperman
By Betsy Nichols
By Trey Grant
By Debbie Lucien
By Sue Edwards
By Suzie Robinson
By Paul Smith

Sunday night, our family dusted off an old Advent devotional from the IBC Children’s Ministry. Following its instructions, we turned off all the lights, gathered around one candle at our kitchen table, and contemplated its meaning.

When you’re sitting in the dark, one little light makes all the difference. It changes what you can see, but it also changes things you can’t see. When light pierces darkness, more resonates than just electromagnetic waves. All of the values we celebrate at Christmas flicker in the flame of a candle: light, warmth, hope, joy, clarity, peace.

Have you ever wondered why Christmas seems to be a nighttime event? Wouldn’t morning have been a more apt metaphor? What if we sang “Jubilant Morn” instead of “Silent Night”? Or “Oh holy sunrise, the dawn is brightly shining”? Assuming the sovereign God of the universe chose what time Mary’s labor ended, why did he choose to be born in darkness? I think it’s because Jesus’ birth is meant to carry the candle’s message.

The people living in darkness have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of the shadow of death
a light has dawned. (Isaiah 9:2)

Light means more to us when we find ourselves in darkness, and we certainly find ourselves there now: terrorism, race riots, human trafficking, human tissue trafficking, income inequality, shootings, injustices of every stripe. The night seems to grow always darker around us. It nurtures fear. It undercuts joy. It shatters peace. God’s people awaiting Messiah under first century Roman occupation may not have been any more familiar with the dark than we are today. We seem to be a people walking in darkness, living in the land of the shadow of death.

What could be more beautiful — more hopeful — for such a people than light? Like the candle at our kitchen table, the Light of Bethlehem pushes back darkness, glows with warmth, promises hope, and lights the way to peace. The God we worship does not distract us from the darkness with trinkets. He does not deny the darkness with mind tricks. He does not shout at the darkness with tantrums. He enters the darkness in silence and shines in holiness until all is calm and bright. He becomes God in the Dark.

What the world needs most is not better presidential candidates or UN peacekeepers or simpler tax laws. Those are all good, but they aren’t light. What people in darkness need most is light. What the world needs most is a God who loves us enough to bring light to our dark days. This is the reason Jesus’ birth was marked by a star. This is the reason he is the Light of the World. This is the reason we hang Christmas lights and hold candlelight services.

This year, I hope the Light means more to us, and I hope it shines on those around us. May every flickering candle and twinkling bulb remind us of the God in the Dark. And may our dark days be merry and bright.

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