Hope in The Light

Light is sweet and it is pleasant for the eyes to see the sun.

verse 7 of Ecclesiastes 11 tells us. So, based upon this simple truth, the Preacher says in verse 8:

if a person lives many years, let him rejoice in them all; but let him remember that the days of darkness will be many.

The Beatles sang,

“It’s been a long cold lonely winter, … it seems like years since it’s been here, … I feel that ice is slowly melting, … it seems like years since it’s been clear.”  But, “Here comes the sun,” so “It’s all right.”

In the Bible, light is literally light. It is good. It brings joy. It is life giving. It is revelatory. It is also symbolic.

Most commonly understood it represents knowledge and understanding of truth. Light is who God is and the knowledge of who he is (Is. 9:2; 2 Cor. 4:6; Eph. 5:14). Light is what God commands and an understanding of these commands. (Prov. 6:23; Ps.119:105). These commands, as light, show us the way – they bring clarity to the way we should think and live and keep us from tripping – they enable us to act wisely and do good.

Light reveals truth as God defines it – truth based on reality as God sees it – as God has created it – because of who God is (Luke 1:76-79). So, God is the light that enlightens us so that we see who he is and understand what is really true about him, the world, and ourselves.

I also think light has a strong association with hope. This makes sense for if what God says of himself is indeed really true and we know about it then we have a great hope – we hope in The Light. I think hope (not a wish but assurance) is implied in Psalm 27:1 when David says …

 The LORD is my light and my salvation;
Whom shall I fear?

and restates this way:

The LORD is the stronghold of my life;
Of whom shall I be afraid?

God is David’s light and salvation – his stronghold – The One he is hoping in – The One he is counting on to get him out of trouble – to save him. And God is our light and salvation – The One we are hoping in. In Matthew’s gospel, when Jesus began his ministry, he moved from Nazareth and went to live in Capernaum. Jesus’ relocation fulfilled Isaiah’s Immanuel (God with us) prophecy (Is. 9:1-2).

the people dwelling in darkness
have seen a great light,
and for those dwelling in the region and shadow of death
On them a light has dawned (Matthew 4:16, ESV).

Because The Light has come to the world, for those who have seen the light, Christmas is a time of intense hope and joy. But right now there are many people who are intensely despairing – they are joyless and hopeless. They are dwelling in gloomy darkness. They are dwelling in the region and shadow of death.

So bottom line, what I want to say is this. If you are despairing and many are – please don’t dwell there forever. Though the days of your darkness may be many, on Christmas day, a great light dawned. This light is our hope, and our hope is a person, and this person is Christ Jesus.

He is our hope for knowing God. He is our hope for reconciliation and relationship with God, and therefore he is our hope for reconciliation and relationship with others. He is our hope for understanding ourselves and people – for if we know him, we understand us. He is our hope for all that is good and joyful. He is our hope for justice. He is our hope for mercy. He is our hope for being made right. He is our hope for a meaningful life. He is our hope for salvation. And he is our hope that all that has been lost is being restored and will one day be fully restored.

Praying that this Christmas season, the light will disperse your gloom and that you will …

Arise, shine, for your light has come,
and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you (Is. 60:1, ESV).

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