Have you seen the light of Jesus?

Published 9:14 am Friday, December 3, 2010

Across the Pastor’s Desk

By the Rev. Matt Griggs, Central Freeborn Lutheran

“The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light” Isaiah 9:2

It is winter again, obvious of course, and I don’t like it! I do like the snow, the skiing, the sledding and sitting by the fire — who can’t say those things are great about winter? I dislike the darkness that comes with it. I send my kids to school in darkness only to have them return with barely an hour left of sunlight, which is not my idea of a great day.

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I compensate for this season by going to the mall with all its lights or even getting lights to decorate my yard and house. It’s my attempt to push the darkness away from my life. Yet it isn’t enough. As soon as the activities stop, the night grows late, darkness remains and I pine for the days of summer.

In our passage above, Isaiah speaks of a great light that previous “darkened” people see. Of course, we hear about this light from our Christmas stories and cantatas that come long after these words were penned by the prophet. Back when Isaiah wrote this, Judah was in shambles and this same prophet Isaiah said that God’s judgment would get worse — leading the people of God out of the promised land of Israel. Amidst this judgment, many wondered whether God had abandoned them. Even in judgment, Isaiah heard from the Lord a resounding “no.” You may be in darkness, O Israel and Judah, but you will see a great light. The child born, in this case King Hezekiah, will continue the royal line of David. This royal line will lead to Jesus the Messiah. Judah has not been forgotten. Your God will keep promises.

Our nation still faces dark and uncertain times ahead. We acknowledge in God we trust yet we may question whether it is for blessing or judgment from this loving and holy God. Many around the world who walk in darkness have yet to see the light. Many in the light are either asleep or ignorant of its power to change lives and our nation.

The question before you and I, is whether the light we turn to is the true light. Is it from the God who raised Jesus from the dead or a false imitation like our holiday lights that are only powered by human goodwill? Can the light that you turn to sustain you through life and death or does it fade with the storms of life? Is the light you are looking for Jesus, who died and rose from the dead to conquer sin, death and the devil?

Jesus’ birth is not only the reason for this season, he is the light that scatters the darkness of the whole world. Have you seen its light?