Matthew Sorenson: The Word — Light in the deep darkness

Published 8:34 am Saturday, January 21, 2023

January can be a really difficult time of year. We just experienced the winter solstice, which is the day with the least sunlight in it. The winter solstice had five hours and 11 minutes less sunshine than the brightest day of the year. That’s a huge difference. It’s also the coldest time of the year, which means that we don’t go out as much. The isolation can leave us feeling alone and the darkness deepens. But it could also be the uncertainty about 2023 that makes it feel like the darkness is growing even deeper. 

Or maybe it’s the darkness of something you did that looms over you and darkens your day like a storm cloud. It’s like sitting around a campfire. Next to the fire everything is warm and well lit. But just beyond the reach of the light we can see the flickering flames reflecting off of eyes peering at us through the darkness.

That would be incredibly unsettling if we hadn’t just celebrated the birth of Jesus Christ. Look at how John describes the birth of Christ. “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it … And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:5, 14). 

Jesus came as the light of the world, so that even if we are surrounded by deep darkness we can be filled with his light. As you celebrate the forgiveness that Jesus came to give you, the darkness of your sins is thrown off and his light shines from you! As you read your Bible and say your prayers, Jesus comes to you to cast off the darkness of loneliness and fill you with his light!

In Genesis 15:5 God tells Abram “‘Look towards heaven and number the stars, if you are able to number them.’ Then he said to him, ‘So shall your offspring be.’” Jesus, the light of the world, came to pay for our sins so that through faith in him we can be the offspring of Abram – children of God who are holy and righteous – shining with the righteousness of Christ. That’s Paul’s encouragement in Philippians 2:15-16. “That you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the Word of life.”

Go outside and enjoy one of these cold, dark nights. Go out and look to the heavens and behold the stars that God has placed there and then give thanks that He sent Jesus so that you can shine like the stars in heaven bringing the light of Christ to the darkness around you.

Rev. Matthew Sorenson is the pastor at St. John’s Lutheran Church. He can be reached at pastor@stjohnsfarmville.org.