“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”
– John 1:5
There is an enormous difference between someone shining a light into a dark place from a distance and then calling you to get out of the darkness on your own by walking toward the light versus someone who goes into the darkness himself and shines his light in order to illuminate the darkness and then carries you out by his power. This is what Jesus has done. He didn’t just shine the light of his holiness and righteousness “into” the mess of humanity and then call out to you to walk toward the light by your own power. No! He came to the darkness of this human existence by becoming human flesh, which has been corrupted with greed, pride, murder, selfishness, idolatry, war, ignorance, and deceit. Jesus got in the darkness with you, and rescued you.
We may have thought that darkness is just the way life is and we have to make the most of it. We may have thought that walking in doubt, fear, pain, and sorrow is the way its supposed to be and we just have to find our own way to deal with it. But that is not what God intends for us. Jesus came to show you just how bad it really is AND how incapable you and I are of getting out of the darkness on our own. That may sound like bad news until you hear what happened next. Jesus takes it a huge step further by doing for you what you cannot do for yourself. What does Jesus do? He picks you up and carries you out of the darkness into the kingdom of his marvelous light. He forgives you for all your failures, weaknesses, insecurities, and sins. He finds you where you are, broken, lost, angry, confused, and hopeless, and he rescues you by his death on the cross. This is what Jesus has done for so many believers from generations past and it exactly what he can do for those of you who are still wandering aimlessly in the dark today.
We celebrate the birth of Jesus because we know that his life, death, and resurrection means something eternally significant. Jesus is light, and he shines in the darkness.