"Craving the Light!"

During this past Christmas season our church participated in an Advent study resourced by Adam Hamilton, senior pastor of Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, Kansas. Hamilton told a vivid story in his book, Incarnation about how Resurrection sets up the annual Christmas Eve candlelight service. They turn down all the lights in the worship center and sit in absolute darkness for what seems like an uncomfortable amount of time. They are trying to demonstrate that "we cannot appreciate the light that Christ brings until we linger in the darkness for a moment" (p.121).

"Crave the Light!"
Image credit: depositphotos.com

Hamilton further describes the drama that builds in these moments of anticipation, "We sit there in the darkness... babies crying, children antsy, we sit there craving the light... then one candle enters the room" as a reader shares this scripture, "In the beginning was the Word... In Him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not overcome it!" (John 1:1, 4-5). 

Darkness can be defined as a Pandemic, the loss of a loved one or friend to the deadly Coronavirus, a contentious election cycle, shuttered businesses, remote learning, unemployment, racial inequality, despair and depression from social isolation, and so many more dark realities. 

There is a loss of hope during dark times. People can become angry, confrontive, and divisive during dark seasons. What disturbs me is the scriptural verdict that "God's light came into the world, but people loved the darkness more than the light, for their actions were evil." (John 3:19 NLT). Why is this so? What makes us prefer darkness? Why aren't we craving the light?

The more I see, hear and read about disturbing behavior, the more I ask, "I wonder if these people go to church or have personal faith?" I know that many do and it makes me wonder what are they hearing in those worship services or reading in their Bibles that gives license to act out this kind of behavior? I am unsettled when individuals cling to their opinions and sense of personal rights while caring little or not at all for the rights and concerns of others. We are living in some pretty dark times in our world today and it should make all of us uncomfortable. It should make us want to see some light piercing through this darkness!

How will this occur? We need to spread some light through our words, actions, beliefs, character, and witness for Christ. That's what the world needs and that is what we believers have to share with a world darkened in sin. The world doesn't need us to be like them. The world needs us to incarnate Christ's love! The world needs God's overcoming light! We have an abundance of that love and light to share in our relationship with Christ the Lord. 

Christian brothers and sisters need to heed and share the Word with those in this world that need the Word! That's our calling! That must be our deepest desire! We should resolve to work on some things in the new year. Paul gives us a needed prescription in a succinct paragraph that starts with this verse, "Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen" (Ephesians 4:29). Please consider the remaining verses (30-32) of this passage for further admonitions.

How will dark behavior be transformed into lives of light, love and life? Let's decide to "Crave the Light" and desire to be Children of the Light, and then determine to pass the Light to others!

Mike Keppler, retired pastor, 
active churchman and
doting grandparent. 
Contact: drmjkeppler@gmail.com



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