By Nathan C. Vance
Recently, my two-year-old son has made a habit of climbing out from his crib rather than sleeping. In fact, one night, my wife and I put him back in his crib forty times before I gave in and slept on the floor beside his bed. Let me tell you, hard wood is cold and hard; much less comfortable than I’m used to, but I love my son, so I did what I had to do. And it was so strange, once I decided to stay in his room, suddenly, he was calm and able to go to sleep.
The next day I was sore from the hard wood and needed answers, so I asked my son why he wouldn’t do what daddy asked and just stay in his bed. He unashamedly replied, “It’s dark in my room and I get scared.” Suddenly, dad was an inch tall. I thought, “Of course that’s why he wanted out of his room so desperately. Duh! He’s only two!” He and I immediately went and found a night light and plugged it in.
The next night, we went through our routine, sang our songs, and prayed and I explained that there was nothing to be scared of in the dark, but that I knew that the light would help make him feel safe. He said, “thank you, daddy!” And told me he loved me. I nearly cried!
I exited his room with confidence as I had been praying about this situation on and off all day. Ten minutes went by, and no footsteps pattering across the hard floor. That little night light changed his entire outlook on bedtime. He slept sound and was still asleep when I got up the next morning. It’s amazing what a little bit of light can do.
In the Gospel of John, Jesus is called the light of the world in whom there is no darkness. We are coming into the season of Christmas, a time when we recognize that the child of God was born a man to show us the way. And in calling us to our mission, he told us to shine our light in the world. Why? Because a little light can overcome infinite darkness. With all lights shining together, we can truly light the world.
So what have I come to see? The world is dark and, like my two-year-old showed me, darkness is scary. What do I mean? Terrorists exemplify darkness and they illicit fear. War is a form of darkness and, because of it, we are fearful. Drug abuse is a part of the darkness and it makes us fearful. Poverty is darkness and, in it, we are fearful. And there are so many examples of the darkness of this world, far too many to name. And each of them bring fear…but Jesus came so that we could have life and have it more abundantly!
My point is, our savior didn’t come to the world to condemn darkness but to shine light! He didn’t call his church to go out and condemn darkness, he called us to shine our little light so the world can look at us and behold him, the lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. He came to show us love because in perfect love there is no fear!
So, this Christmas, let’s put fear aside and instead of constantly griping about the dark world we live in, why don’t we show the love and light of Christ? That’s the light that will end the darkness and calm the fears.