It is the darkest day of the year. Folks in the northern hemisphere will see just nine hours and thirty-two minutes of daylight today, and if you are here in Ohio, that light is blocked by a thick layer of clouds and rain.
Time is short to spread the light, to let the light shine in your windows and on your Christmas trees, to let the light leak out from underneath your front doors and into the world. The light shines in the darkness. The darkness has not overcome it.
It has tried to overcome it plenty of times. Daily we have evidence of the darkness trying to quell the light, and yet the light prevails. How does the light prevail? By practicing the virtues and characteristics that have overcome darkness for millennia, acts borne from love that grow into the fruits of joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and self-control.
Instead, our fruit looks like self-righteousness. Judgment. Materialism. Indignation. Christians protest all kinds of things lately. We are outraged, just outraged. These criticisms and statements are not light. They are the shadows we make when we try to stand in the place of the light. Where there ought to be a window to let the light shine through, we erect a wall.
Because that is the kind of light that is revolutionary. Love for the weak and the persecuted. Help for the hungry and poor. Mercy for the criminal and prostitute. Grace to the undeserving.
These are the threats to society that make the darkness tremble.
“When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born. ‘In Bethlehem in Judea,’ they replied, ‘for this is what the prophet has written:
‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for out of you will come a ruler
who will shepherd my people Israel.'” – Matthew 2:3-6