The Light of the World
By Steph Cancino | December 16, 2021 | Return to Blog
The end of the familiar Nativity story is joyful, but the beginning of this story is a mess. The journey to the joy was through chaos, uncertainty, and darkness. But the Light was on the way.
"My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant..." Luke 1:47-48
Authors of the Bible write about her being a servant (Luke 1:38), rejoicing (Luke 1:47), praying (Acts 1:14), and ultimately recognizing Jesus as Lord and Master (John 2:1-5). But in the very beginning, when she was still a teenager, she was scared. She was shamed. She likely had friends turn their backs on her. She was no doubt called a liar and blasphemer. Mary had to make a difficult decision–give into despair or rejoice in obedience.
"Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly." Matthew 1:19
Although no words from Joseph are quoted in the Bible, he is recorded as a man faithful to the Law. His character was clear. He cared about Jesus (Luke 2:48), cared about Mary, and was obedient to God (Matthew 1:24-25). But in the very beginning, he was hurt. He was confused. His faith was surely shaken. Joseph’s knowledge of the law meant he knew his legal right to have Mary stoned to death. He too had to make a tough decision–believe or bail out.
The Darkness Has Not Overcome
God sent the Savior of the world to a stable in Bethlehem. The victorious King came as a helpless infant who needed a mother to keep him warm. The light of the world was born into the darkness of the night, surrounded not by royalty, but by animal troughs and lowly shepherds. When Mary was holding Jesus, did she remain steadfast in knowing this hungry child would save the world? When the shepherds asked Joseph if this was the place where the King lay, did Joseph hesitate to answer, preoccupied by thoughts of how he, a sinner, could raise a Child with such a Holy purpose?
"The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it." John 1:5
The light from that stable in a small town spread through the darkest of times. The news that the foretold Messiah had come to seek the lost and heal the sick traveled between people, towns, and eventually nations. There was good news for all: hope had come to dwell on earth. The King of Kings and Lord of Lords was here.
The evil in the world isn’t much different today than it was a couple of thousand years ago. Sin is sin. Only its appearance changes. Christmas can be the darkest time of the year for many. The people beside us are sad, broken, and lost. They are in need of love or without hope. It is our responsibility to take the light of God’s love, which shines brighter than the darkest night, and share it with the world around us. Just as God gave us the light through Jesus, we are to reflect it to our neighbor, not only to share the hope of salvation we have in Jesus, but to celebrate Jesus, our Savior, the true light of the world.