And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. (Luke 2:16-18 ESV)
But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says, “Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” (Ephesians 5:13-14 ESV)
For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. (2 Corinthians 4:6 ESV)
The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. (John 1:5 ESV)
Light shines. It beams, it radiates, it overcomes. Some people are drawn to it, others run away from it. The shepherds changed their nightly plans because of the light of God’s angel. Wise men followed a light for weeks just to meet a young child with seemingly far less power and reach than themselves. King Herod could sense the light overtaking his darkness and it drove him mad. Light changes everything.
Each story is unique. Each person hearing (or reading) these words has experienced light shining into their darkness in a different way. For some it came in the voice of a parent. For others the love and empathy of a friend. Perhaps you first experienced the light from a Pastor, youth leader or Sunday school teacher. Maybe it was words off a page or a sermon off the internet. I do not know your story. What I do know is your experience. Where there had been darkness, now there was light. Bright, shining, beaming, radiant, overcoming light. Light changes everything.
When the light finds you, it changes you. It awakens you from a slumber. It brings to life things in you that you did not know you possessed. It makes you think and say things you once thought strange. But it does more than that doesn’t it? It changes your mind yes, but even more so it changes your heart. It stirs in you things and causes you to do things you once thought foolish. When a person is touched by the light, everything in them is revealed, and they begin the work, or perhaps the war of digging into every crevasse to root out the darkness that remains. Light has a way of making people long to grow, change and belong to something bigger than themselves. Light changes everything.
There is one last thing about light that makes it so special. A characteristic that we experience everyday and yet often forget. Light reflects. Each and every image that you see, contains light that is reflecting off the surface of an object causing it to appear the way it does. In this way, light reveals the true nature of every created thing. Showing us what it was meant to be.
Two thousand years ago, a light broke into our world. This light shone brighter than any sun. It beamed brighter than any headlight. It radiated hope, joy, peace and love to a world in desperate need of them. It overcame darkness in the human soul. This is the light that changes everything – this is the light that still shines today.
Two thousand years ago this light shined in the form of a tiny child. Fully God, and yet fully man, lying in a manger. The light, He grew, and it began to shine not only in and of Himself, but by the reflections of any who would listen to Him. Light changing them, one man and woman at a time.
There was a time when darkness sought to extinguish the light, put it in a cave and covered it with a stone. But the darkness could not hold the light, could not keep it from reflecting, and light again broke through, and has illuminated our world for centuries.
This light still shines today. It shines through me, and I hope through you. You and I, when exposed to this light, have our true purpose revealed. To reflect the light of hope, joy, peace and love that came into our world through our Immanuel, God with us. Through us people see His light and are drawn to it.
So this Christmas I invite you, heed the words of the prophet Isaiah, who some 700 years before the breaking in of light to our world exhorted us to share it when he said;
Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD has risen upon you. For behold, darkness shall cover the earth, and thick darkness the peoples; but the LORD will arise upon you, and his glory will be seen upon you. And nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising. (Isaiah 60:1-3 ESV).
God’s light has come. God’s light is here. His light, changes everything.