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Jesus Is the Light of the World

By Barbara Rainey

First posted on

Again Jesus spoke to them, saying,

“I am the light of the World.”

John 8:12

Have you ever been afraid of the dark?

I remember taking a tour of an underground cave. It was fascinating and beautiful with spaces two and three stories high. But when the tour guide shut off the light for about 30 seconds it suddenly became frightening. We could see literally nothing, even a hand in front of our eyes. It was darker than any darkness I’d known. It felt like forever before he flipped the light switch back on. The relief was palpable.

The absolute darkest places on our planet are the very deepest parts of the ocean where no light can penetrate the abyss. Scientists are especially curious about the unexplored, unreachable crevices; for what lies in the deep darkness remains a mystery.

Genesis tells us that in the beginning the earth was formless, without any shape, and empty; there was only darkness over everything, as black as the depths of the oceans or the lightless recesses of a deep cave. “Then God said, ‘Let there be light’ ... and God saw that the light was good, and God separated the light from the darkness” (Genesis 1:3-4).

Life was now possible because the Light had come!

And then the Old Testament prophet Isaiah foretold of a time when, “The people who walk in darkness will see a great light; those who live in a dark land, the light will shine upon them” (Isaiah 9:2). This would happen with the coming of the Messiah: “For a child will be born to us, a Son will be given to us ... (Isaiah 9:6).

The early words of the Gospel of John describe Jesus as the Light of the World: “In Him was life, and the life was the Light of mankind. And the Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not see it” (John 1:4-5).

A favorite Christmas activity for many families is stringing lights on the Christmas tree, draping them around the front door, or decorating the whole house with lights from rooftop to front porch. Candles and even a fire in the fireplace add a warm glow of light from the flickering flames.

Why do most all of us enjoy adding different kinds of lights to our homes at Christmas? Because lights create warmth. Heat from a fire, the soft glow of twinkle lights, or flickering candles, sends a message of hope, of expectancy, of life itself. Light catches our eyes, beckons us to stare at its glow, calls our hearts to be enveloped by its brightness.

Lights at Christmas are symbolic of the Light of Christ, reminding us of the true meaning of the Christmas holiday.

But on this earth, physical light doesn’t last. Days ends and night comes. Candles burn out and darkness descends. The fire dies and the cold rushes in.

One day that will change for those who know Jesus as the Light of the World. Those who follow Christ will, when He returns, behold the Light that never fades:

“Behold He is coming with the clouds and every eye will see Him ... There shall no longer be any light and they shall not have need of the light of a lamp nor the light of the sun, because the Lord God shall illumine them” (Revelation 1:7; 22:5).

God in His infinite goodness gave us light to sustain our lives. But infinitely more important, God gave us Jesus, who is light, and “in him is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5). He was sent to us at Christmas to deliver us “from the domain of darkness” (Colossians 1:13).

The Light came to earth so that darkness would be banished forever. Jesus declared, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12).

Christmas is about Jesus, the Light of the World.

Light of the world

You stepped down into darkness.

Open my eyes

Let me see.

From the worship song,

“Here I Am to Worship”


My Heart, Ever His: Prayers for Women (NEW from Barbara Rainey)

As we search for meaning in our world of shallow online relationships and glamorized selfies, many are returning to traditional and liturgical churches. The repeated words, benedictions, and historic hymns connect us to saints who have gone before, giving us a sense of belonging, richness, and transcendence. Written prayers, once cast off as archaic, are now welcomed as guides to tune our hearts to the heart of God.

In My Heart, Ever His Barbara Rainey shares 40 prayers for women. Readers can read and meditate on one prayer throughout the week or read a prayer a day for 40 days as a way to express the longing of our hearts to our Father who loves us even as he sees who we truly are. Like the psalms of David, these prayers are honest, sometimes raw. Barbara uses these transparent expressions of common female experiences to encourage us to surrender to Christ and help us see God as he is, not as we assume him to be. My Heart, Ever His provides a stepping-stone to help you become more transparent with God and discover his welcoming embrace.


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