I remember as a little boy when my momma read ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas to me for the very first time on Christmas Eve. For millions around the world, the reading of the poem by Clement Clarke Moore has become an institution. But I want to speak with you today about a different “night” before Christmas, the night that deeply impacted all of us long before the very first Christmas Day.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. (John 1:1-5 ESV)
Before the darkness of sin entered the world, there was light. “God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light” (Genesis 1:3). Let’s explore this concept under two headings: the reality of this darkness and the remedy for it.
- The Reality of this Darkness
Before the darkness enveloped mankind, there was light in the world.
God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. And God saw that the light was good. (Genesis 1:3-4)
The Lord wraps himself in light as with a garment; he stretches out the heavens like a tent. (Psalm 104:2)
Adam and Eve were created to be image-bearers of God.
God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. (Genesis 1:27)
Our first parents were to walk in the light, just as God is light. But sin shrouded that light.
The serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” . . . When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. (Genesis 3:1, 6)
Since Adam and Eve’s terrible, treacherous fall in the Garden of Eden, we live in a dark world, a world marred by the stain of sin and the slime of the serpent. The world is darkened by . . .
This is the bitter reality of the darkness that entered into this world when the serpent convinced our first parents to turn away from God. Adam and Eve were not satisfied with being made in the image of God. They wanted to be God, and they chose to do the one thing that God had commanded them not to do. But God did not leave them in their sin! Instead, He proclaimed the remedy—the only remedy, the perfect remedy—for this darkness.
2. The Remedy for this Darkness
God promised to redeem us from the darkness and bring us out into the light.
I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel. (Genesis 3:15)
I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them. (Isaiah 42:16)
You, Lord, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light. (Psalm 18:28)
Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path. (Psalm 119:105)
When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”(John 8:12)
(Before curing the man born blind, Jesus said,) “While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” (John 9:5)
The light of Jesus Christ, the God-man born in a manger in Bethlehem 2,000 years ago, leads us out of darkness and into God’s wonderful light.
A pillar of fire lit the way for God’s people who were coming out of bondage in Egypt.
A bright star showed the way for the wise men who were coming to find the Savior.
Jesus Christ is the way—the only way—out of the darkness into the light.
You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. (1 Peter 2:9)
God’s remedy for dispelling the darkness of sin is our Redeemer, God’s precious and beloved Son, Jesus Christ. He is the Child of Promise, who came to take away the sin (darkness) of this world by his perfect life, sacrificial death, and supernatural resurrection.
Is this your truth this Christmas? Is this your celebration? Have you received, by grace through faith, Jesus as the light of your world? Have you trusted Him as your personal Savior? If you aren’t sure, you can be! You need only confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, and salvation comes to you today.
C.S. Lewis’s classic allegory, The Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe, tells the tale of a land populated by talking animals, mythical beings, and a self-proclaimed queen, the white witch, who controlled Narnia through her magically imposed rule. Her spell made it, as Lewis memorably wrote, “always winter but never Christmas.” This had been the dreary truth in Narnia for one hundred years. Edmund, one of four children who had entered the Narnian world, was captured by the white witch. Yet even as he languished in captivity, Edmund realized that the witch’s spell has been broken:
All around them, though out of sight, there were streams chattering, bubbling, splashing and even (in the distance) roaring. And his heart gave a great leap (though he hardly knew why) when he realized that the frost was over . . . Only five minutes later he noticed a dozen crocuses growing around the foot of an old tree—gold and purple and white.
The melting snow was a sure sign that Aslan, the great lion, was on the move and that the frozen, joyless reign of the white witch would soon end. Aslan, of course represents Christ, the Lion of Judah. His birth, death, burial, and resurrection are the sure and certain sign that the cold winter darkness, which had held man’s heart in its grip for millennia, has been broken. The great Lion is on the move; He has reversed the curse of sin and death, He is shining the light of eternity into our darkened hearts, and there is new life growing all around us!
This is the wonderful promise of Christmas. I pray that this Christmas you will be filled with . . .
The surprise of Mary
The surrender of Joseph
The song of the angels
The strength of the shepherds
The sureness of the Magi
And the salvation of God’s wonderful Remedy that dispels the dreary darkness
May God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit bless you now and forever more.
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!