The Light of the World

We were going down.

Down, down, down, down we descended.  We descended into the heart of the Canadian Shield the same depth as a 100 story building is high.  Over one thousand feet we were lowered by the freight elevator into the bowels of a nuclear waste storage facility.

Deep in the heart of the solid granite of the Canadian Shield is a nuclear waste storage facility where the radioactive spent cores from Candu Reactors are stored.  I was leading a field trip of grade 10 social studies students.  We were studying nuclear power and I thought this would give the students an exceptional experiential learning excursion.

And that certainly was the case.  Our guide gave us a tour we would not soon forget.

The cores are buried in chambers dug deep into the rock, then back-filled with silica sand.  We never got within the vicinity of spent cores of course.  That would have been very unsafe.  We did, however, walk through the long corridors leading into those chambers

It was in one of these corridors our guide gave us an experience that I will never forget.  When you’re that deep in solid rock there’s absolutely no light apart for that which is man-made.  Our guide asked us if we would like to see what utter darkness looks like.  Of course we responded that we would indeed.

It was at that point our guide turned off all the lights.

Darkness enveloped us like black ink.  I had never experienced anything like it before.  I held my hand in front of my face – inches away – and could see nothing.  It was total and utter darkness.  There was a physical nature to this darkness, it almost felt like a prison that now bound us.

Then, before we knew it, the lights were turned back on and the darkness fled.  The atmosphere totally changed.  When the light came, the darkness disappeared.

That is a picture of Christmas.

Isaiah prophesied about Jesus’ birth this way:

“The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.”  Isaiah 9:2

Jesus said this about Himself:

“When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.’”  Mathew 8:12

Do you know why lights are such a significant part of our Christmas decorations?  Because Jesus came to break the power of the spiritual darkness that imprisoned the world.  Jesus came to bring light to those trapped in darkness – darkness of soul.

Isaiah 61, which is really the Constitution of the Kingdom of God, tells us that Jesus came to bring release from darkness for the prisoners.  Like my students and I were trapped and immobilized by the darkness in that nuclear waste storage facility, mankind was trapped in the kingdom of darkness, imprisoned by sin.

We were, that is, until Jesus came.

At Christmas we celebrate Jesus’ birth.  Lights are a part of our Christmas decorations because Jesus is the light of the world.  He came to bring light into the darkness.  Into your darkness.

What darkness do you need to invite Jesus into?

And do you know what?  When Jesus brings His light into your life, you become the light of the world.  You get to share hope with those trapped in hopelessness.  When we get hold of the light and Truth Jesus has for us, we become His ambassadors of light and Truth to our world.

For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord. Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.”  Ephesians 5:8-11

So Christmas is a time when we celebrate the birth of Christ, of Him bringing light into the darkness.  But He has said that we are now the light of the world, and we need to let our light shine before men.  So when you’re looking at all the lights this Christmas, think of the light that Jesus brought into our darkness, but also remember that you are the light of the world.

Turn your light on in people’s darkness.

You are the light of the world.

Matthew 5:14-16

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.  In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”

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