Have you ever walked through a familiar room in the dark? It is probably a room you would not think twice about walking through during the day. But suddenly, when you walk through it in the dark, it can become an ominous obstacle course with the lights off. Take your living room, for example. The reality of the room is not necessarily any different in its dark state. The furniture is still in the same place, the same basket of toys or books is still right in the middle of the room where you left it, your pair of shoes is still next to the couch, and your bag from work is still by the front door. Once the lights are off, the room doesn’t change, but your perception of it does. It makes you second-guess every step you take.
Afraid of the Darkness
Being afraid of the dark is a common struggle for young children. The invention of the night-light is credited to Abe Donsky, a father of four children who likely stumbled through a familiar room in the dark and stepped on one too many Lego building bricks in the process.
Maybe you have outgrown your childhood fear of the dark in a very basic sense. But I imagine you still carry other burdens that come with darkness, like anxiety, struggles at work, tension in relationships, financial pain, etc. When darkness shows up in our lives where there used to be light, it can feel like we are stumbling through a familiar room in the dark. Darkness makes us second-guess every step we take.
With winter quickly approaching, the darkest days of the year are ahead. This is the time of year when it may be dark when you go to work and dark when you leave work. All this darkness can warp your perception of light. On top of that, the upcoming holidays can bring some of the darkest feelings as we miss loved ones or navigate other losses. Darkness becomes a part of our daily rhythm. As difficult as darkness is to endure, God gives a purpose to this darkness. God guides our every step.
And God set [the sun, moon, and stars] in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth, to rule over the day and over the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening and there was morning, the fourth day.
In this world, darkness is part of how we experience light. John 1:5 reminds us, “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”
Darkness alters our sense of reality. Light enables us to see how God is at work in our lives. Like Abe Donsky’s first night-light, Christ always provides light and purpose, even in our darkest hours. His light guides our path. Whether we are facing the darkness of an unknown future, a health diagnosis, the loss of a relationship, or the fear of lying in bed at night in a dark room, we are loved by a God who is present in the darkness but not overcome by it.
Infusing the Light into Our Christmas Season
I think part of the appeal of the Christmas season is how we infuse light into all of our celebrations. Lights wrap our trees, houses, and light poles. During the dark winter, the light of Christmas guides our path. May the extra presence of lights this Christmas season remind you that you have a God who stepped out of the light into this world of darkness. May these lights remind you of the God who gives a purpose to your darkness.
This Christmas season, know this: the light of the world has come. This light guides our every step. In Christ, there is no need to second-guess our steps. He is illuminating them because God “has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins” (Colossians 1:13–14).
During December, focus on Jesus, the light of the world, in the Everyday Faith Calendar.