Darkness Defeated

  
I used to be absolutely terrified of the dark. As a child, I suffered though nightmares and anxiety and phobias, all associated with darkness. I even dreaded going to sleep at night because of my fears.

Eventually, I overcame those fears through the normal process of growing up. That and I would cram every stuffed animal I owned in the bed with me when I went to bed at night.

Lately it occurred to me that if a single candle can dispel all the darkness in any given room, then darkness is revealed to be powerless and impotent.

Jesus stated that He is the light of the world. He has already overcome darkness and everything associated with it. In fact, He has already overcome anything we could ever possibly be afraid of.

That’s a very comforting notion in a world where anxieties run rampant and fear rules the major part of the lives of the majority. In fact, both the news and social media are driven by fear.

Fear has no place in God’s economy. Perfect love casts out fear. The more one truly knows and understands how much he or she is loved, the less place there is for fear, because love and fear cannot co-exist within the same human heart. One displaces the other.

The ultimate destiny of darkness is defeat. There is no scenario where darkness ultimately overcomes the light. The only way darkness wins at all is in the absolute absence of light. The only way evil wins in this world is when good stays silent and hidden.

The final victory of light over dark is found in heaven where there is no need of sun or moon or stars, because Jesus is the light there. There is no more night or darkness or shadows because there is no place where the light is not present.

Here, we are the light of the world. May we not only find deliverance from our own anxieties about darkness but be instrumental in helping others overcome as well.

 

 

When The Lights Go Out at Christmas

His breath filled all things
    with a living, breathing light—
  A light that thrives in the depths of darkness,
    blazes through murky bottoms.
It cannot and will not be quenched” (John 1:4-5).

I had an interesting experience at work today. The lights went out.

I was in the middle of my last mail delivery run when all the lights went out for a split second, long enough to catch everybody by surprise and get them freaked out before the backup generators kicked in and some of the lights came back on. It was weird.

Suddenly, everything seemed more sinister. There’s something about not being able to see everything that unnerves me a little. Maybe that’s from all those scary movies I’ve watched. Maybe that’s from when I was little and was deathly afraid of the dark.

Sometimes life feels like that. It’s like someone switched off the proverbial lights and it’s hard to see where you are or where you’re going. You can’t prepare for what’s coming because you can’t see what’s coming. Sometimes you can’t even see the next step.

Advent is all about a light coming into the darkness. Some translations of John 1 say that the light came into the darkness and the darkness could not overcome it. Some say that the darkness could not comprehend it. I’m pulling a Forrest Gump and saying maybe both are right.

You can’t overcome what you do not understand. You will always be overpowered until you gain wisdom and learn a better way.

I love that it only takes one candle to defeat darkness. Or one little night light. I also love what a pastor said. The present state of things in our world isn’t due to the victory of darkness but from a failure of the light to shine. We’ve been silent when we should have spoken and sometimes we’ve spoken when we should have been silent (and maybe more discerning about what and when to speak).

 

A Borrowed Easter Prayer

“It is truly right and good, always and everywhere, with our whole heart and mind and voice, to praise you, the invisible, almighty, and eternal God, and your only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ our Lord; for he is the true Paschal Lamb, who at the feast of the Passover paid for us the debt of Adam’s sin, and by his blood delivered your faithful people.

This is the night, when you brought our fathers, the children of Israel, out of bondage in Egypt, and led them through the Red Sea on dry land.

This is the night when all who believe in Christ are delivered from the gloom of sin, and are restored to grace and holiness of life.

This is the night, when Christ broke the bonds of death and hell, and rose victorious from the grave.

How wonderful and beyond our knowing, O God, is your mercy and loving-kindness to us, that to redeem a slave, you gave a Son.

How holy is this night, when wickedness is put to flight, and sin is washed away. It restores innocence to the fallen, and joy to those who mourn. It casts out pride and hatred, and brings peace and concord.

How blessed is this night, when earth and heaven are joined and men and women are reconciled to God.

Holy Father, accept our evening sacrifice, the offering of this candle in your honor. May it shine continually to drive away all darkness. May Christ, the Morning Star who knows no setting, find it ever burning—he who gives his light to all creation, and who lives and reigns for ever and ever. Amen.”

This is from The Great Vigil of Easter in The Common Book of Prayer, one of my favorite devotional/prayer books. It expresses my thoughts about Easter perfectly and I hope it becomes the prayer of your heart this Easter Sunday and every day after.