When you’re waiting in the dark, you end up spending a lot of time thinking about the light.
You start gravitating towards passages in the Bible that mention light. You become amazed how deeply the concept of light is threaded all the way through, how every thing you read seems to mention light
from Genesis 1:3, And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.
to Revelations 22:5, They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light.
And because it is advent, you spend a lot of time thinking about how Jesus is the light of the world.
Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows Me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” [John 9:12]
Then you remember He also said,
“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.
Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house.
In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. [Matthew 5:14-16].
You contemplate this greater mystery. Not only do you receive God’s light, but you reflect it too. And for a while you have a warm, cozy feeling.
Then you read Luke 11:35, Be careful lest the light in you be darkness.
And you think why would this apply to you? Darkness is scary and you’re craving light. But before long, you realize what you are really craving is comfort, not light. Light can be too revealing. It can uncover things you want to keep hidden.
And so it is while you are living through this season with its focus on God’s desire to illuminate the world’s gloom, you become aware of a painful truth. There are some very dark aspects of your soul that you have never allowed to be exposed to the light. Suddenly the thought of Jesus shining in the darkness doesn’t feel hopeful at all. It actually feels disturbing.
You see that if you really want to sing about the glory of God with the heavenly host, you are going to have to admit these dark parts in you. And once you’ve done that, you’ll need to bring them out into the open and expose them to the light of God’s presence. You know this is going to be an excruciatingly difficult operation. You’ve already scraped off the easy sins, those big glaring spots that you knew you couldn’t hide. What has remained are deeply engrained attitudes and patterns. These aren’t mere cosmetic problems that can be gotten rid of as easily as taking out the trash. These are fundamental structural issues that require something much more drastic, like tearing down the house.
And if you are honest with yourself, you have to face the fact that you don’t want to do this. You’ve become attached to these aspects of your self. They are precious parts of who you are.
That’s when you understand which character in the Christmas story you may be most like. Not Mary who obediently submits. Not the shepherds who respond to the angels. Not the Magi who go on a long journey to pay homage to a king. But Herod, the earthly ruler who claims that he wants to go and worship the Christ. Instead, what he really wants is to eliminate any potential threat to his power, and to ensure this, he will kill every little boy in Bethlehem. You used to shake your head at how he could do such a terrible thing to protect his fleeting kingdom. You used to condemn him as a monster. But now you recognize that dark desperation to hold on.
Fortunately for you, God knows your heart. This is not news to Him. Fortunately, His light shines in your darkness.
The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on Me,
because the Lord has anointed Me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent Me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
He was with God in the beginning.
Through Him all things were made; without Him nothing was made that has been made.
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.
The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship.
And by Him we cry, “Abba, Father.”