It’s hard, right? You have to carefully pick your way from room to room with your arms outstretched so that you don’t accidentally slam into a wall. You can’t see the floor, meaning there’s a good chance you’ll step on something like a Lego, which hurts like crazy. If you’re going downstairs, you have to hold fast to the railing so that you don’t accidentally slip.
The simple truth is that it’s very difficult to do anything in the darkness. Whether it’s buttoning a shirt, cleaning up a mess, or just walking down the street, we need light. We can’t function without it.
We need spiritual light even more than we need physical light. If we don’t have spiritual light, we can’t know God. We can’t have a relationship with Him. We can’t follow God or please Him. Spiritual light is absolutely necessary. Without, we will stumble around in spiritual darkness.
The glorious good news is that the Christmas story is the story of God shining His light into our darkness. It’s the story of the Light of the World entering a dark world to give His people spiritual light. It’s the story of light overcoming the darkness.
The Bible makes it very clear that every person — every man, woman, and child — is born into spiritual darkness. We are all born with a sinful nature, and throughout our lives, we willfully choose to sin against God. We are sinners both by nature and by choice. Our sin against God separates us from Him. It creates a great divide between us and God and it causes us to walk in spiritual darkness.
Proverbs 4:19 describes it like this, “The way of the wicked is like darkness; They do not know what makes them stumble.”
Apart from God, we walk in deep, impenetrable spiritual darkness. We can’t see God, can’t find our way to Him, and can’t walk in His ways. When it comes to spiritual things, we “stumble” along, not knowing which way we’re going. We are always walking in a spiritual “midnight”, with no moon or stars to light the way.
Second Corinthians 4:4 puts it this way: “whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.”
This isn’t a pretty picture. Before we know God, we are blinded by “the god of this world” (Satan). We can’t see Jesus for who He truly is. We can’t behold His beauty and glory and splendor. The Christmas story — God becoming man to save us from our sins — doesn’t make sense to us. The good news of the gospel doesn’t look like good news to us. When we look at Jesus, we don’t see the Son of God coming to rescue us from our sins.
Spiritual blindness is far worse than physical blindness. When you’re physically blind, it’s impossible to see the world around you. When you’re spiritually blind, it’s impossible to see God. We desperately need to be rescued from spiritual blindness. We can’t cure our own spiritual blindness. We need someone to heal us.
Ephesians 2:1-3 says: And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.
The picture keeps getting worse, doesn’t it? Not only are we spiritually blind, but we’re also completely spiritually dead. We have no spiritual life in us. Without Christ, even the most “spiritual” person is spiritually dead. Not kind of dead. Not mostly dead. Completely and fully dead. And we can’t overcome our spiritual death on our own. We need spiritual life to be breathed into our dead hearts.
We need to be delivered from spiritual death before we can know and love and follow God.
The good news of the Christmas story is that God has shined His glorious light into our spiritual darkness. Jesus burst into the darkness of the world, shining forth with the brilliant, illuminating light of God. God took the initiative to dispel our spiritual darkness, heal our spiritual blindness, and give us new spiritual life. Though we couldn’t overcome the darkness on our own, God has come to rescue us.
The prophet Isaiah foretold the coming of Jesus when he said:
The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death, upon them a light has shined. (Isaiah 9:2)
The imagery in this verse is beautiful. We were walking in darkness and we dwelled in a land of deep darkness. It calls to mind when God sent the plague of darkness upon the Egyptians in the book of Exodus. They were helpless, engulfed in heavy darkness, unable to function.
We too were engulfed by darkness, groping blindly, unable to find our way out. We were in a plague of darkness. But a light has shone upon us, piercing the darkness.
In John 8:12, we read, “Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, 'I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.’”
God sent Jesus into the world to rescue us from spiritual darkness. This is what the Christmas story is all about. It’s about Jesus, the Light of God, shining into our lives and delivering us evil and darkness. The Christmas story is about rescue and deliverance and light and healing.
When Christ comes into our lives, He fills us with the “Light of life.” Suddenly, we have spiritual sight. We can see God as He truly is. We can perceive His beauty and glory and we desire to follow Him. The things of God make sense to us and we embrace them. We no longer stumble about, plagued by spiritual blindness.
Second Corinthians 4:6 says, “For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”
When He created the world, God spoke and the light shined into the darkness. One moment, everything was inky blackness, without a speck of light. Suddenly there was the sun, brilliant, bright, and blazing, providing light and warmth.
God did something even greater in us. The same God who spoke light into existence has shined the light of Christ into our hearts, allowing us to have the knowledge of God. If Jesus, the Light of the world, had never been born, we would never know God. We would still be dwelling in darkness. But praise God, Jesus was born, and all who believe in Him experience the light of God in their lives.
Colossians 1:13 puts it in terms of rescue: “He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love.”
Christmas is the ultimate rescue story. Once we were in the domain of darkness, slaves of sin, unable to escape. We were without hope and without God in the world. But God didn’t leave us to ourselves.
In the famous hymn “And Can It Be That I Should Gain”, Charles Wesley wrote about having the light of Christ shine into his life:
Long my imprisoned spirit lay
Fast bound in sin and nature’s night;
Thine eye diffused a quickening ray,
I woke, the dungeon flamed with light;
My chains fell off, my heart was free,
I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.
This is the glory of the Christmas story. The “dungeon” of our lives was filled with the glorious light of Christ. Our chains fell off and we were free to follow God.
Rooted in Pastor Adrian Rogers' book A Family Christmas Treasury, this Christmas Experience includes a collection of inspiring content, activities to bring your family together, and 31 daily devotions for each day of December. Feel free to pick and choose the days and activities that fit your schedule.
The light of Christ in our lives should be a source of incredible joy to us, both this Christmas and every single day. Though there is still much darkness in the world, we have been set free. Jesus, the shining Light has broken into our lives, opened our blind spiritual eyes, and put spiritual life in us.
We should joyfully sing songs like “Hark! The Herald Angel Sings”:
Hail, the heav'n-born Prince of peace
Hail! the Son of Righteousness
Light and life to all He brings
Risen with healing in His wings
Yes, we still go through struggles and trials and tribulations. Yes, we experience pain and loss and sorrow and grief. But those things don’t have the final word. Jesus has come into the world to dispel the darkness. He’s expelled the darkness in our lives individually, and some day, when He returns, He will eliminate the darkness once and for all.
Jesus will come back and there will be no more sorrow, no more sadness, no more heartache. There will be only light, no darkness. We will be able to joyfully proclaim the words of the song “Joy To The World”:
No more let sins and sorrows grow
Nor thorns infest the ground
He comes to make His blessings flow
Far as the curse is found, far as the curse is found
Far as, far as the curse is found
This Christmas, we have the opportunity to shine as lights for Christ. The heartbreaking reality is that there are many, many people who don’t have the light of Christ in their lives. They walk in spiritual darkness and are afflicted by spiritual blindness. We have friends, neighbors, and even family members who desperately need Christ in their lives.
As we celebrate Christmas with friends, family, and coworkers, we can shine the light of Christ. How do we shine the light of Christ? Two simple ways.
When we love others, refuse to grumble and complain, rejoice in the midst of suffering, bless those who curse us, and are content with what we have, the light of God shines out of us. People see that there is something distinctly different about us. We have the aroma of Christ. We stand out like bright street lamps along a darkened street. People see that we have real hope, and that is attractive to them.
By sharing the good news of Jesus Christ with our friends, family members, and coworkers. If people see something different in us, there’s a good chance they’ll ask about it. In those moments, we have the opportunity to point them to Jesus, the Light of the world. We can tell them how God rescued us out of darkness and filled us with the light of Christ.
Christmas presents us with a unique opportunity. Millions of people around the world celebrate the holiday, even if they don’t believe in Christ. We simply need to help people connect the dots. To see the real reason for the holiday. To see the true hope offered by Jesus Christ.
Jesus is at the heart of the Christmas story. Let’s be shining lights for Christ.
Listen to the Experience Christmas playlist as you and your family take part in these activities.
You can also purchase the Experience Christmas Worship Collection as a digital download or CD to listen offline.