In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
— John 1:1–5
When you turn on the news today, it is not uncommon to be overwhelmed with darkness. It seems like almost every day there is news of a terrorist attack, either at home or abroad. There are wars and threats of wars. There is racial division, financial difficulty, and new sexual harassment charges popping up almost daily. And, regardless of whether you watch CNN or Fox News, it seems as if there is plenty for everyone to be unhappy about politically as well. When you add to those the current state of our public discourse, you might say we are living in dark times.
It’s not just the world as a whole that often seems dark. For many, your own world seems dark. There is sickness or even death that has brought shade to your life this year. For some, there is financial difficulty that is creating a feeling of darkness. For others, there has been divorce or marital struggle that has darkened your days. Again, for many, it is not hard to spot some darkness.
I would suspect, however, times have always seemed dark. Certainly the days seemed dark when John wrote towards the end of his life. He had seen Nero send Roman forces to obliterate the Christians. He had seen his friends Peter and Paul be put to death for their unwavering belief in Jesus and his resurrection. The feeling that we are living in dark days, in fact, is nothing new.
Yet, the way that John begins his gospel seems so full of hope and so optimistic. He begins his gospel with the proclamation that light had come into the world. The savior of the world had appeared as light, and darkness never overcomes light.
Today, as we celebrate the birth of Jesus, we celebrate the light that came to the world — our world — and chased away darkness. As you celebrate Christmas today, celebrate the truth that he brings light to the darkest of situations. Celebrate the truth:
The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
— John 1:5