In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
Nyctophobia is the fear of the dark. Darkness hides things. Darkness means you can’t see what’s around you. That darkness creates anxiety and uncertainty. The fear of the unknown, along with the vividness of the human imagination, causes terror.
There is a different type of darkness that causes fear. It’s the darkness of death. Death casts a long shadow that endarks everyone. To many people, death is the ultimate unknown. They can’t see past death, and so the fear of death affects what they do in life.
The truth of Christmas is that Jesus came as light to shine in this darkness. Each twinkling Christmas light on the tree and houses is a reminder that Jesus came as the Light of the world. And Jesus came to defeat the darkness of death.
For hours, the darkness tried to defeat Jesus as he hung on the cross. And for three days, the darkness thought it had defeated the Light of the world. But Jesus rose triumphantly from the dead on the third day. Jesus, the Light of the world, defeated death and its darkness. Death could not overcome Jesus.
That’s why Jesus is the life and light of all mankind. Jesus has illuminated what lies beyond the grave to all who follow him. Death is no longer the scary darkness of the unknown. Because Jesus came, because Jesus defeated death, it means death has no power over those who trust in Jesus as their Savior from sin.
As you gaze at the Christmas lights this year, remember they are not just a festive spectacle. But they remind us that Jesus is our light. Our lives are illuminated by the love of Christ, who brings warmth and joy to a world in darkness. Jesus lights up our lives because he has conquered the darkness of death.
I pray, O God, for those who are gripped by the fear of darkness and death. Surround them with the light of your love, illuminated by the gospel of the forgiveness of sins. Amen.