No Longer Afraid

Read John 1:1-9

The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, and for those who sat in the region and shadow of death light has dawned. Matthew 4:16 (NRSV)

When Olaiya Muyiwa Benralph, from the Federal Capital Territory of Nigeria, was young, she had a great fear of darkness. One night the electricity went off. Darkness quickly enveloped her room, and she felt something bad was closing in on her. She screamed until her mother rushed to her rescue. As soon as the light from her lantern shone in the room, the darkness disappeared!

Thinking about that night years later reminds Olaiya of how the whole world lay in darkness until God spoke the sun into being. She thinks also of how the coming of Jesus Christ as the true Light dispelled the darkness in the world and illuminated the path for human-kind. (See John 1:9.) Finally, thinking of that night reminds her of a cold manger in Bethlehem where the Holy Child was born. That night marks the point at which God shined a divine light into the world and dispelled the power of evil.

Remembering her experience with darkness as a child helps her understand Christmas better. Christmas is the time when God's light through Christ breaks the hold of sin in the world. Olaiya no longer celebrates Christmas blindly but with a deep understanding of what God did by sending Jesus as the Light of the world.

Prayer: God of light, fill our hearts with the joy of Christmas so that the light of the gospel can shine anew in the world, in Jesus' name. Amen.

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