By Lynn Stob

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.John 1:1-5

This year I thought I would try something different outside my home for Christmas decorations. Now, I should have thought this one through beforehand, but late-night Amazon shopping got me again, and I ended up ordering some solar Christmas lights. Here’s what I didn’t think about: I live in West Michigan (meaning we have lots of cloud cover, to begin with), and my yard has tons of trees (so my yard doesn’t see much sun anyway). These solar Christmas lights have turned out to be a bit of a bust. Sometimes the lights are amazing, shining brightly in my backyard, adding vibrant color and vivid life. Most frequently, though, they don’t even turn on at all! Clearly, this is not quite what I had envisioned. These solar Christmas lights need the sun to fully charge them so they can shine light into the darkness. No sun = no light. 

No light. Perhaps this Advent season has been dark for you. In many ways, it has been a tough year. You may have experienced loss, grief, heartache, or uncertainty. There is no doubt about it—our world is dark! But this Advent season, I want to remind you that Christ is the light of all humanity. He shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. Jesus brings hope to this world. The darkness cannot and will not overcome his light. Many versions of John 1:5 say something along the lines of “the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness cannot comprehend it.” The light of life contrasts the dark world to the point the darkness doesn’t even understand. 

The light should bring us great hope! Immanuel, God with us, is the light that has defeated the darkness. I want you to remember that there is a light that has overcome that darkness. As we enter this final week of Advent, know that the light has come. That light brings joy and peace. That light is love. That light gives us hope because no matter what we face here on earth, the light has defeated the darkness for all who will believe. 

I think, in some ways, we are no different than these solar lights in my backyard. When we’re charged with the light of life, we, too, have light to share. We can bring joy, color, a bit of sparkle, and bright light into dark places. So arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you. (Isaiah 60:1) Go and spread the light of Christ and shine brightly into the darkness in his name!