The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep... And God said, "Let there be light," and there was light. And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness.
It is interesting, that according to Genesis 1, the darkness was before the light. Light in the world was created by God, darkness seems to have just been; void always was. It is the absence of God's work. It is also interesting to me, that God's first creative act was to bring something into the world to counter darkness, namely light, and to separate the two.
Reflecting forward to the New Testament, I remember that Christ is referred to as the light of the world. He even refers to himself as such in John 9:5. Interesting indeed, but how does this affect us? Mankind?
Well, those who have put their faith in Christ are referred to as being in the light as well, and are encouraged to walk as children of the light (Ephesians 5:8). And those who have not put their faith in him are referred to as being in the dark, as separate and distinct as when God separated the light from darkness on the first day.
However, like the darkness on the first day, it is not something that is created in us. It is not something that is in some, but not in others. It is how we all are when we begin to be. It is the state of being void of God's work, the absence of his life.
As children of light, we have experienced the life that comes with God's intervention in our lives, we have experienced God's breath speak into us as he spoke the light in the world into being. What an amazing thing to fathom.
If you continue on in the Genesis story, on the fourth day God establishes the light (sun, moon and stars) to rule over both day and night. The light, though brought into the world after darkness was in the world, is chosen to govern it all. After all, "Is a lamp brought in to be put under a basket?" Let us, let me, fulfill our proper duty as light, not forgetting we were once in the darkness.
In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
God has been speaking to me lately about 'the light." The common threads I have seen weaved throughout what He has shown me is 'light' = God's presence with and his intervention into mankind and His world and that 'darkness' = the void that is separation from God . Another common theme I have seen is the dramatic separation the light has from the darkness.
Today is Christmas Eve, and like every year I flip to a Gospel and start reading the first chapter. This year I selected John, and although John does not not go through the traditionally read Christmas story with the manger scene and such, it does speak to the incredible miracle and good news that is God entering into His creation to be "God with us."
As I reflect on the two verses above, I reflect on the statement, "God with us," and how it connects with 'light.' What does it mean that God is with us? What does it mean that God is with us even when tragedy runs rampant in this world? Where is the light?
In these verses, the author makes the connection that this light for mankind is the life that Christ brings. Making the connection to past studies on 'light', this light and life brought to mankind represents the absence of darkness and the void of apartness from God. This light is God's hand intervening in our lives to bring about life that can only be obtained when 'God is with us.' And though the darkness and pain of this world is by no means obsolete, (and I think I have had a heightened awareness of this this Christmas season) it can not overcome the light; it can not overcome God's presence with men and women and the life He brings with it.
Tomorrow we celebrate this light touching down in the form of a baby boy, Jesus Christ. Let us celebrate this. Let us not be fooled that darkness will defeat the light, but instead let us celebrate the defeat of the void and the life that is available to us should we welcome Him who brought it.