“For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,” made His light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:6).
Do you know who wrote those words? It was none other than St. Paul himself…the man who lived and walked in darkness; the man who persecuted Christians to the death; the man who thought that works could save him. He lived in the dark.
But then one day on the road to Damascus, the Light slapped him right in the face and said, “Let light shine out of darkness.” His life was never the same. Sins forgiven, grace bestowed, new vocation, and the ancient world was set on fire for the Lord through the ministry of one man.
“Let light shine out of darkness,” said Yahweh, at the beginning of all time. And there was light. And there was life. And there was for Adam and Eve a perfect relationship with God…
…Until the darkness of sin entered their hearts and the deep darkness of death entered the world: Cain killed Abel; the nations built a tower and “babeled”; Abraham and Sarah laughed in the face of God’s promise; Moses murdered; David adulterated; Israel idolized. “Let light shine out of darkness!”
But the world had become so…very…dark. Not just the world…but all human hearts. And dark hearts led to the deepest darkness called death.
So God began to speak hope and light through prophets:
- The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned. (Isaiah)
- Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD rises upon you.
- Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn.
- Though I sit in darkness, the Lord will be my light. (Micah)
- It will be a unique day—a day known only to the LORD—with no distinction between day and night. When evening comes, there will be light. (Zechariah)
“Let light shine out of darkness,” Yahweh said to a virgin named Mary through the bright and shining angel Gabriel. “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.” “Let light shine out of darkness.”
Then, on a dark Bethlehem night, Light caressed Mary’s face and said, “Let light shine out of darkness.” That shining little face was a prelude to words that would later come from that mouth: “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
The Light of the World was born for the express purpose of suffering through the darkness of this world, to suffer the punishment of sin’s darkness, and to suffer the deep darkness of death on a cross. But from the grave Light flooded the world and said, “Let light shine out of darkness.”
Every time there is a baptism that very same light shines out of the darkness. In some churches a baptismal candle is lit. It is given to the baptized, light touches the face, and a pastor says: “Receive this burning light to show that you have received Christ who is the Light of the world. Live always in the light of Christ, and be ever watchful for His coming, that you may meet Him with joy and enter with Him into the marriage feast of the Lamb in His kingdom, which shall have no end.”
When light shines out of darkness, life is never the same. Sins forgiven, grace bestowed, new vocation, and family, friends, neighbors, and co-workers bask in the light of the Lord. “Let light shine out of darkness” on Christmas and always.
Where do you see Light?