Advent Week 1: Light and Darkness

David RayAdvent, Christmas, Family, Kids, Preschool, WorshipLeave a Comment

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The story goes that there was once a man with three sons who devised a test of wisdom to determine which of his sons would receive his estate. He brought his three sons to a large room in his house and gave each of them a small bag of coins.

“Purchase something that can fill this room with the money I have given you,” said the father. “Whoever succeeds will inherit my estate.”

“Purchase something that can fill this room with the money I have given you,” said the father. “Whoever succeeds will inherit my estate.”

The first son spent his money on dirt. But even though the money purchased a large amount of dirt, it did not fill the room. The room was cleared, and the next son had his turn.

The second son spent his money on straw. But though the straw filled more of the room than the dirt, it did not fill the room completely. The room was cleared again, and it was time for the last son to take his turn, but he requested that they wait until evening.

When evening came and the house was dark, the third son entered the room with a small brown sack. His brothers scoffed, wondering how something so small could fill a room so large. Out of the sack the third son pulled a candle and a match. He struck the match and lit the candle, and light filled the entire room. His father smiled and declared that his third son, the wisest of the three, would inherit his estate.

I love this simple story because it reminds us of the power of just a small light in the midst of the darkness. A quote widely attributed to Robert Alden sums it up quite nicely: “There is not enough darkness in all the world to put out the light of even one small candle.”

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This seems particularly relevant during the season of Advent, when we anticipate the coming of the Light of the World into our darkness. Here are a few quick reminders about light that may encourage you and your family during this season.

Light Shows Truth

People who have things to hide love the dark. But light has a pesky way of showing us exactly the way things are. “This is the verdict,” Jesus said to Nicodemus in John 3:19. “Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.” The light of Christ can bring an uncomfortable level of truth to our lives, dredging up the dark thoughts, words, and actions we were hoping no one else knew about and placing them in the blinding light of God’s holiness.

The light of Christ not only exposes our desperate need for a Savior, it also reveals that we are terrible at saving ourselves.

The light of Christ not only exposes our desperate need for a Savior, it also reveals that we are terrible at saving ourselves.

But if you can get past the fact that the air was just let out of your self-righteous balloon, you might find something beautiful about the light of Christ. Before you were walking in darkness, directionless and dangerous. But the light of Christ illuminates the Way: the Way to the Savior, the Way around the pitfalls of pride and pretension, the Way to forgiveness, the Way to a life of true happiness and holiness. “I am the light of the world,” Jesus said in John 8:12. “Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

Light Expands

Light is expansive by nature. It doesn’t remain in one place. It pushes out until it finds something to bounce off, and then it keeps going. That star you looked at last night? What you saw was the end of a lonely multi-billion year journey for a ray of light, which had miraculously been unimpeded by a single object in the vastness of space until it finally bounced off your retina.

It wants to shine brightly, bouncing off the people around you so that the image of Christ forms in their eyes when they see you.

Similarly, the light of Christ inside you wants to push out and expand. It doesn’t want to be hidden deep inside. It wants to shine brightly, bouncing off the people around you so that the image of Christ forms in their eyes when they see you. You don’t light a lamp and put it under a bowl, Jesus said in Matthew 5:15. You put it on a stand so that everyone can see. “In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matt. 5:16).

Light Wins

John 1 tells us that the “light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” Why? Because darkness, though it may seem to be everywhere, has no real power. Just a single light will push back the deepest darkness.

Just a single light will push back the deepest darkness.

The problem is that our “lights” are just poor reflections of the True Light. They sputter and burn out from lack of fuel. They are blown out by the winds of the world around us. Or we hide them out of fear. But when Jesus, the True Light, lives inside us, we have nothing to fear. His light burns strong and steady, pushing back the darkness around us and inside us.

The Light of the World

Here’s a Bible trivia question for you: Is Jesus the light of the world, or are we the light of the world? Actually, it’s both. Jesus calls himself the “light of the world” in John 8, and calls us the “light of the world” in Matthew 5. This Advent season, we not only celebrate the coming of the “true light,” the fulfillment of God’s promise through Isaiah: “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light” (Isaiah 9:2), we also are reminded of our calling to allow the “true light” to shine through us.

And parents, this is a great opportunity to teach your kids an important truth about who Jesus is and who we are called to be. One way you can engage your family this season by journeying with us through our Advent Family Worship Kit. Each of our Family Worship Kits contains scripture songs, family devotionals, memory verse cards, and a family worship guide. And when you subscribe you’ll gain access to ALL of our Family Worship Kits for a ridiculously low price.

This Advent season, celebrate the “true light.” And ask God to help you become the “light of the world,” that shines before all people so that they may see the glory of God.

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About the Author
David Ray

David Ray

David Ray is a worship leader, artist and songwriter from Houston, Texas, where he serves at Salem Lutheran Church. He and his wife, Jess, are the creators of Doorpost Songs, a series of songs and resources designed for kids worship, multi-gen worship, and family worship. Dave and Jess are the parents of three rambunctious kids and they love getting to serve churches and families across the nation.

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