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Light in the Darkness

From Rev. Solomon Keal, BACS Pastor and Assistant to the Pastor
December 29, 2020

Christmas lights are one of my favorite parts of the Christmas season. We decorate with lights at Christmas time because “light” is a theme throughout the Christmas story. Angels of light appeared to the shepherds, announcing the Lord’s birth. The Magi followed the light of the Christmas Star to give the young Child gifts. Zacharias and Simeon spoke of the coming light (see Luke 1:79, 2:32). Many of the Christmas prophecies foretold of the light that the Lord would bring into the world (see Isaiah 9:2; 60:1-3). The Christmas story in the Gospel of John is all about light: “In Him was life, and the life was the light of all people. And the light shines in the darkness…. That was the true Light which gives light to everyone coming into the world.” (John 1:4-9) Sometimes artwork depicts the baby Lord in the manger as a source of light. And we celebrate Christmas near the winter solstice — the darkest day of the year — because the Christmas story is about the Lord bringing light into our darkness. “Darkness” is a symbol for times when we experience fear, confusion, or struggle (see also AR 413.3). And we’ve been through a lot of darkness this year. “Light is mentioned many times in the Word, and in the internal sense it means truth springing from good. In the highest internal sense however ‘light’ means the Lord Himself since He is Good and Truth themselves.” (AC 3195.2-3; see also 31.2-3) Light in the darkness is a symbol for the truths that the Lord brings into our lives to comfort us and help us feel safer; much like a nightlight might help someone to feel safer when sleeping (see AC 2699.2). The light of Christmas is not the same as the light of the springtime in heaven when we consistently feel and participate in the warmth of love. But when we’re in states of spiritual darkness and cold, the light of Christmas gives us hope that goodness is coming. “If I say, ‘Surely the darkness shall fall on me,’ even the night shall be light about me.” (Psalm 139:11) Just as our eyes can adjust to small amounts of light in the dark, our souls can adjust to even small amounts of truth from goodness, which can help us find our way through the darkness. It might be an idea for how to improve a relationship. It might be a faith that things will get better in the future. It might be a hope for peace on earth, and goodwill to all. It might be trust that the Lord’s Providence is in all things. The warmth might not be felt yet, but we can see it coming. From here on out, the days will get lighter and lighter. What are some Christmas “lights” for you this season? What are the true ideas that come from love, which give you hope and comfort in dark times? I hope you’ve all had a wonderful Christmas season. May the New Year and the Lord’s presence bring you increasing light and joy!

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