Darkness is not a thing. It is actually the absence of a thing, that “thing” being light. Oftentimes we are so accustomed to darkness or near darkness that it is quite startling when light is suddenly turned on.
Imagine how it was for the shepherds on the night that Jesus the Messiah was born.
Now there were … shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. Luke 2:8
To them it was a night like many that had stretched on before, and they assumed would be the same this night. In the darkness they probably took turns watching and listening for threats to their flock while others slept. Suddenly everything changed:
And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. Luke 2:9
What a startling contrast. Suddenly the darkness that they were used to was no more. In an instant everything changed. No one now slept. The focus of everyone was riveted on a heavenly being as light of the glory of the Lord lit everything around them.
For these shepherds it was the first of several extraordinary events of that night. The darkness that they had grown so used to was shown for the nothing that it was. The fixation on things physical was eclipsed by the revelation of things spiritual.
Suddenly there was a messenger sent from God! Suddenly there was heavenly light! Suddenly there was great fear!
When we become too complacent in our physical lives, when we become too used to the dark, when we become too adept at rationalizing compromise with the world and sin, we need the light of the Lord shined into our world.
I love the word “behold” at the start of the sentence about the revelation of the angel and light and fear. It is a signpost that tells us to not just read this, but to grad hold of this truth. Put yourself there on that night going about your nightly routine when it is suddenly shattered by God revealing His Son. Then take that truth and apply it to your life today.
Let there be light as God shines anew the revelation of His gift to the world this Christmas season. Come out of the darkness into His glorious presence and gaze in awe at the majesty of the God who loved us and gave His Son for us.