Light in the darkness

You have to get out into the more remote parts of the diocese to experience real darkness.

Even in some of our more rural communities, street lighting softens the darkness. In urban communities, light pollution means that some of us rarely encounter complete darkness at all. But there is something sobering and spectacular about the dark, not least the darkness of the night sky, because actually the more you look at it the more you see. The darkness is not dark at all. Millions and millions of stars are shining, though we know that even the light is the afterburn of that star’s demise.

in the Bible, the really important things always happen in the darkness. The resurrection happens in the night-time. When Jesus died on the cross we are told that darkness covered the land. And of course we celebrate Christmas, the birth of Christ, in the middle of the night.

This Christmas and this year we find ourselves encountering darkness in other ways. COVID-19 seems to have spread a blanket of darkness across our whole world. We have had to learn how to live differently. We have paid a heavy price in human suffering. As I write, a few weeks away from Christmas, we don’t know how we will be able to celebrate or with whom we will be able to meet.

But the promise of Christmas, and with it the promise of the Christian faith, remain the same: “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; Those who lived in a land of darkness, on them has light shined.” (Isaiah 9.2)

As Christians celebrating the birth of Christ, we are the ones who look for this light, the light of Christ dawning on the world. We are also the ones through whom this light must shine for others. For a present this Christmas, let us give to others our prayer and service.

“The light shines in the darkness and the darkness cannot overcome it.” (John 1.5)

Yours in the service of the Gospel

+ Stephen