Manchester, Istanbul, Stockholm, Westminster Bridge, Borough Market, Las Vegas, Orlando, Barcelona & Sutherland Springs – names that remind us of the worst of mankind and the darkness of the world we live in. Yet it’s not just random places across the world, is it?! It’s you too, isn’t it?! There’s darkness in your life. Sadness, hurts, regrets, tears. There are those who’ve lost loved ones, grandparents, parents, children, brothers, sisters, friends. You know it. You know how much suffering in this world. I know there are those who’ve battled cancer diagnosises and other serious illnesses. There are those who’ve had to pick up the pieces of broken relationships. There are those who’ve lost jobs. Those who struggle to shake off their past. There are some out before me who are in the middle of their darkness. You know every single day how dark the world seems.
Maybe what hurts most in all of this is realizing that it isn’t just our world that is dark, but the people who live here who make it so. It’s us! Me and you! The reason our society is as bad as it is, is us. I appreciate that’s a fairly offensive thing to be told on Christmas Day. Now, on the face of it, that’s a crazy thing to say. People like Hitler, Pol Pot, Stalin, Mao – they are evil. Murderers and child abusers – they are evil. Not us. Yet the Bible is clear – each an every one of our hearts is dark. They are dark places. The Bible is clear that part of the darkness we see around us is because each and every one of us has darkness in our hearts. Jesus even goes as far as to say that because our hearts are evil we actually love the darkness.
When you ignore God – you just get drawn deeper and deeper into the darkness. People are looking towards humans and their resources to fix the problems of the world. To fix the earth, they’re looking at the experts, the scholars, the MPs. Yes… it is dark, but we can fix it ourselves. We can overcome the darkness by ourselves. Things are dark but we can end that with intellect and innovation.
The Christmas message says that’s nonsense. Humanity cannot save itself and belief that humanity can save itself leads to more darkness. That’s entirely logical. If you take a world view that everything is by chance, that there is no God… then there is no hope. Only darkness
So how can we deal with the darkness? If you wanted to get rid of darkness in a room, how would you do it? Would you curse the darkness? Would you take a broomstick and try to beat the darkness out of the room? Would you take a shovel and shovel it out? Would you take a vacuum cleaner and suck it out? How are you going to get the darkness out of a room? There’s no way except one: turn on the light. Isaiah 9:2tells us that even in the darkness, there is hope. A light has come. The light has been turned on.
The people walking in darkness
have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of deep darkness
a light has dawned.
That light is Jesus – He said, “I am the light of the world”
You cannot get rid of the darkness yourself but Jesus can. He is the light. He is the God-man. He is the light of very light, who came down from heaven into this darkness for you and me. In his life, He never did anything wrong. There was no darkness in Him… He was and Is pure light. The Bible tells us that when He died, He swallowed up darkness. There he faced the punishment for our darkness and made a way for us to be made right again. He plunges himself into the darkness that we ushered in, and he conquers it by experiencing all the agonies and pains of this life—and even more so, the agonies and pain of the cross, which surpass anything that you and I will ever have to endure. Then 3 days later, He rose from the dead, defeating darkness and it’s reign in our hearts.
Jesus will one day get rid of all the darkness together. I love the Lord of the Rings. One of my favourite bits is when Frodo, the Hobbit who has to destroy the ring, decides he can’t go on and he dear friend, Sam Wise Gamgee says, “
“I know. It’s all wrong. By rights we shouldn’t even be here. But we are. It’s like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger they were. And sometimes you didn’t want to know the end. Because how could the end be happy. How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened. But in the end, it’s only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer.”
Know this – no matter now dark this world is. – One day Jesus is going to put it right. He will make every sad thing untrue. The Bible tells us that one day he will come again… not this time as a baby but as the King of Kings – every knee will bow at his majesty. Those in darkness will be punished for ever but for those who trust in Him, he will make everything right.
There will be the total absence of anything to be sorry about–no sadness, no disappointment, no pain. There will be no tears of misfortune, tears over lost love, tears of remorse, tears of regret, tears over the death of loved ones, or tears for any other reason. Darkness will be gone.
Jesus’ light is with us in our darkness. You might think that it’s all very well what will be good in the future. But what about where I am now? What about the darkness in my life? Let me tell you something, if you’re a Christian, the light of Jesus is with you in any situation. Just like a a small candle will overwhelm the darkness of a room, the light of Jesus is there, flickering away in your darkness and the darkness will not overcome it.
I want to say that the light that God gives us is not an explanation. I can’t explain the massacre of children and their parents at a concert. There are no satisfactory answers to explain the darkness of this world to those who find themselves in the midst of it. No – God doesn’t offer us explanations – instead, what God offers is Himself. Instead of explaining the darkness to us, God enters into the darkness with us.
- Lonely? Jesus knew what it was to be lonely – all his friends deserted him when he needed them most.
- Grieving? Jesus knew what it was to deeply grieve the death of a dear friend
- Falling into temptation? Jesus knows what it’s likely to be tempted deeply, yet overcame it all
- In a dark place about the future? Jesus knew about that – think of how He was at Gethsemane
- Struggling with singleness? Jesus knew about the difficulties of singleness
- Not got much money? Jesus knew what it was like to be materially poor.
This darkness may seem to be suffocating your very soul, yet in Christ it has no authority over you. The great light of the world came to shine into our darkness. He willingly immersed himself into our mess and brokenness. There is no darkness that is dark to him.
So this Christmas… whatever your darkness… look to Jesus – the Light.