A few years back, after suffering from a number of cold symptoms, a student that was involved in our campus ministry discovered something that no one ever wants to find in the place they live: black mold. If you walked around their dorm building you wouldn't notice, That is because mold thrives in dark places…in the air conditioning ducts, behind walls, under tiles. The mold was so widespread that the university decided to move students out and eventually tore it down because of an infestation in the dark places of the dorm.
In John 1:9, the apostle describes birth of Jesus as a light shining in darkness.”the true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming in to the world.” We love the idea of Jesus as the light; it reminds us of his truth, healing and guidance. But this image of Jesus also tells us a lot about the world Jesus entered. It’s a world that is not always bright, shiny and happy. In fact our world and our communities, and even our own hearts can be dark places, cant they? We are told this is the “hap happiest season of all,” and yet.. we might find ourselves thinking and feeling the complete opposite. even now you might be in the midst of great sadness, anxiety.. or maybe you are seeing and experiencing the inconsistency and hypocrisy of your own heart.
My guess is: its not too hard to convince you that this world is in desperate need of light, of healing, of guidance in the midst of a dark path. What IS hard to believe in the midst of reflecting on the darkness in this world and in our hearts.. is that the God of the universe would want anything to do with us. Our temptation is to believe that, when God sees our darkness, he will flee like we would flee when we see black mold.
However, at Christmas, we celebrate the fact that the darkness doesn’t have the last word: “the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” The sin of this world and the sin of our own hearts is no match for Jesus. He came to defeat sin, and he did not fail. If you are tempted to believe that your sin is too great, or your shame is too deep, John invites you to remember the beauty of Christmas. Our savior has come to defeat the darkness in our lives, and one day he will return to remove it forever. That is good news worth celebrating this year!