I was never afraid of the dark. As a little girl I loved lying in bed in a dark room watching the night sky out of my bedroom window. We lived in the country so there was no light from buildings, street lamps, or cars. Just quiet darkness. I never slept with a nightlight or the door cracked. It never crossed my mind that darkness was scary to some kids.
Then I grew up and realized that there is a darkness that is terrifying. Not the kind of darkness that comes when thunder claps and all the lights go off suddenly, or when your car breaks down halfway between your best friend’s house and your house and you have to walk the last 2 miles home by yourself (with no cell phone) in the middle of the night. There’s a darkness that won’t go away with the sunrise or 100 watt light bulbs in every lamp in the house.
Scripture refers to this kind of darkness as sin. We’ve all walked in the darkness of sin. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather be lost in the woods without a flashlight than be lost in sin without hope.
I remember when I was old enough to be aware of the darkness of my own heart. When I realized I was capable of lying and deceiving and that there were thoughts that lived in my head that I was ashamed of. I was angry all the time. The words that came out of my mouth were cruel and cutting. I was full of jealousy and desire and felt like I was the most wicked person alive. As a girl who didn’t grow up in church I had no concept of sin, all I knew was that I didn’t like my thoughts and behaviors and didn’t know how to change them.
I started to be afraid of the night. Not of the physical darkness that enveloped me as a lay in bed, but of the dark thoughts that filled my mind when the day was quiet and I was alone.
To be honest, I haven’t thought about that season of my life in a really long time. I’ve been in love with Jesus for almost 30 years now. While I still struggle with sin, it’s never as hopeless as it was before I met Christ. But back then… back then the darkness was scary. The hopelessness was overwhelming. And I thought I’d never find the light again.
This is the first week of Advent. This week families will light the first candle on their advent wreaths and talk about the hope and expectation of the Messiah. The first candle. From darkness a flame and then, light. And with the lighting of the first candle we remember the darkness that it dispels. We remember our hopeless state before the Light of the World stepped into our darkness.
“This is the message we heard from Jesus and now declare to you:
God is light, and there is no darkness in him at all.”
1 John 1:5
Do you remember the darkness you felt before the light of Christ came into your life? During this season of preparing for Christmas let’s start preparing our hearts by remembering how dark our lives were before we met Jesus. Let’s be reminded of how good the Gospel is. Let’s take a minute to thank Him, once again, for bringing light into our world.
“For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light.” Ephesians 5:8
p.s. Maybe you still find yourself in that place of darkness. I have good news for you, you don’t have to find your way out of the darkness, you only need to invite Jesus into it. He is the light and He can rescue you! He came so that your sins can be forgiven. You can find out more about that hope here.