Christmas Eve 2016
“The Darkness Does Not Extinguish the Light”
We have reached that point in the season when the anticipation of Christ becomes so real that the light of the star over Bethlehem cannot help but be noticed. We have sung carols, listened to lessons of the story, and have probably already celebrated Christmas by opening a present or two.
But the day still isn’t quite here. As one theologian puts it, “the almighty almost.” We must still hold on to Advent for a few more hours.
Think of those who were waiting for that first Christmas. The Hebrew people were under the rule of powerful Rome. They were not being persecuted and harmed as in previous generations, but they still lived under the authority of someone else who took their offerings to the temple as taxes for their own emperor. Their way of life was subject to Rome’s discretion. Things looked bleak.
For those who were waiting for their messiah, darkness was a strong force.
In the final lesson tonight, the gospel writer of John tells us that, when the Word came into being, it brought forth the light. Darkness was driven away. Darkness, in the history of Christendom, is most noticeable in two places: Genesis and Revelation. In Genesis, darkness precedes the coming of God. It is the absence of God. In Revelation, darkness is where those who refuse God’s love and charity are left to live in torment.
Darkness is where hiding happens.
The coming of Christ means the coming of the Word. It means the light will break in to our lives. All those things we hide – our fears, our secrets – will be brought into the light. But there is good news: the light is coming to save us from our fears, from those things that hurt us most. It is coming to bring light to all those who live in darkness. And for those who are desperate for the warmth of light, it will come to them.
So many people today await the coming of Christ just like those in the days of old. They struggle with the overpowering forces of despair, depression, anxiety, addiction, and all other ailments that happen to us. Their Roman oppressors may be an actual state or a state of mind. Either way, they need to know the light is coming to drive out the darkness.
I am sure some of you struggle with darkness, and the holidays might increase those feelings. Christ is coming for you. He is coming to heal your heart and to drive away the loneliness of a life without the healing power of God. Let the Prince of Peace bring peace into your life.
In the name of God, by the power of the Holy Spirit, I bless you all. Merry Christmas, Joy to the World.