Feature

Lighting the Darkness

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It’s that time of year again. Christians around the world are celebrating. Festive decorations, seasonal music and gatherings of all kinds proclaim the birth of Jesus. The signs of Christmas are almost everywhere you look, and the decorations come in all shapes, colors and sizes. Perhaps the most prominent feature of our holiday adornment is the multicolored and variously shaped lighting that seems to say, “Joy to the world; the Lord is come!”

Light has always been associated with our Savior. Six centuries before Jesus’ birth the prophet Isaiah wrote, “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). He was describing the spiritual condition of the world into which Jesus would be born—mankind desperately in need of illumination, hope and redemption.

Recounting Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem, John wrote, “The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him” (John 1:9–10). Later, he adds, “This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil” (3:19).

Not much has really changed in more than 20 centuries. Our world is still dark and broken. Sin holds mankind in its grip. People live without hope, and the Light is unrecognized in many places around our world.

But there is an important difference: those who have chosen to follow Jesus are called “a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light” (1 Peter 2:9). With Christ in us, we are “light in the Lord” (Eph. 5:8). I remember well the day the Light burst into my life. It was February 1, 1966. By the grace of God I was translated from the kingdom of darkness into the Kingdom of light, and my life was transformed!

Before He ascended into heaven, Jesus called His disciples together and told them to make disciples in all of the nations of the world. John, who heard Jesus’ last words, said, “We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. We write this to make our joy complete. This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:3–6).

As you enjoy the colorful decorations and lights of Christmas this year, please take time to reflect on the words of our Savior, “’I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life’” (John 8:12).

For more than 120 years The Alliance has been committed to obedience to Jesus’ Commission. Taking the Light to the spiritually darkest parts of our world—in the United States and other nations—is our mission, and for the same reason that Jesus left the glory of heaven to come to the earth: Lost people matter to God. He wants them found.

Your gift to the Great Commission Fund (see pg. 16) helps to take the light of the gospel to people who have never heard that Jesus loves them and died for them. I believe that everyone should have the opportunity to follow our Savior—even those in the least-reached corners of our country and the world.

May God bless you as you celebrate and proclaim the birth of our Savior!

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