The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
— John 1:5

Here’s the gospel (the “good news”): Jesus delivers the people of God from the dominion of darkness and brings them into the kingdom of light. There is no better news!
Here’s the background: Sin had plunged God’s people into darkness. They had no temple, no king, and no homeland. The problem was their own repeated sin of turning away from God and pursuing the sinful excesses of neighboring kingdoms. So God sent other nations, that were bent on conquest, to uproot his people and take them into exile. In a long era of gloom, Israel’s hope grew dim. But when the time was right, God sent his Son to bring Israel out of darkness and into light. And not just Israel—because Jesus is “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). On the cross he broke the back of darkness, because forgiveness of sins leads back to the light. Beyond our “little” sins, Jesus has secured forgiveness for our love of darkness. This frees us from the clutches of darkness and brings us into the light of the kingdom of God. We still live in a dark world. The drumbeat of tragedies and atrocities never stops. But we have the privilege and the duty to reflect the light of God’s kingdom into the world. We do it by keeping the law of Christ: loving and serving both God and neighbor with joy.

Lord Jesus, whenever it’s dark, wherever it’s dark, and however it’s dark, I want to shine. Jesus, help me to shine! Amen.

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