It was too hot to sleep, so my dear wife got up and went to the kitchen of our short-term mission home to get some ice. When she turned on the lights, the floor was moving—cockroaches, lots of cockroaches, scurrying to hide.
Light exposes what is in the dark. In God’s Word, “light” can symbolize what is right, good, and true. It is with this nuance that John speaks of Jesus, “the true light which coming into the world, enlightens every man.” (John 1:9) In the same way that physical light exposed the cockroaches, Jesus of Bethlehem, who perfectly embodied God in truth, exposes the corruption (darkness) of men’s hearts. John correctly stated, “the light (Jesus) is come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the light; for their deeds were evil.” (John 3:19)
Many people are content to think of baby Jesus meek and mild lying in a manger. But when the words and works of Christ confront the corruption of human hearts, it grates against arrogant self-reliance, and love for the darkness moves many to reject Jesus, resulting in condemnation.
May the Christmas lights this year remind us that the “Light” (Jesus) came into the world to reveal our rebellion, to call attention to our corruption, and to expose evil within us for His good purpose. If exposing the darkness were the only function of the “light” it would be a tragic tale, because our wickedness brings spiritual death (Romans 6:23). But exposing our sin shows us our need for the true Light who came to give us life.
The mercy of Bethlehem’s manger is that light also expels darkness. Physical darkness is the absence of light. Only the pure light of Christ can expel spiritual darkness. Jesus declared as much when He applied the imagery of God’s pillar of cloud and fire, which led God’s people in the wilderness to Himself saying, “I am the light of the world; he who follows Me shall not walk in the darkness (of sin, the world, or the devil), but shall have the light of (eternal) life.” (John 8:12)
Spiritual darkness was not eliminated simply through Jesus’ birth, but can be expelled as the dominant and damning influence in our life through faith in His work. Jesus said, “I have come as the light into the world that everyone who believes in Me may not remain in darkness.” (John 12:46) All who trust in His death as the payment we deserve, and in His resurrection as proof of victory over sin and death, escape the condemnation of darkness and enter eternal life.
If we believe in the Light of the World, we have the light of life.