Louise Gevers 

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has never put it out. John 1:5, GNT
The world is a very dark place at this time in history. There is suffering everywhere – horrendous suffering through wars, earthquakes, famines, floods – each carrying its own horror that’s blazoned on screens everywhere through the media, spreading the revulsion.
We reel at mankind’s inhumanity, corruption and oppression with a deepening sense of uneasiness as evil appears to engulf the world in darkness. Without light, vision is blinded and actions are hindered. The world is in need of light and the hope it brings.
In South Africa we are painfully aware of the importance of physical light. Periods of darkness daily disrupt our lives, disregard our needs, and create chaos – at a great cost. It’s increasingly difficult to laugh at jokes that fellow sufferers create from this situation when a dear friend falls and breaks her wrist after suddenly being plunged into darkness, again. Again we’re reminded it’s no joke.
This is a darkness over which we have little control, but we pray. We need to be in step with God to make choices that make a difference.
The good news is that we don’t need to ‘pine in darkness’ or keep stumbling in the dark; we can approach the light because Jesus is the key to this freedom. Of him it was prophesied: “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.” (Isaiah 9:2, NIV)
Jesus came to the world to set us free from slavery to darkness; He dispels darkness by changing hearts and bringing hope through his light. With God at creation, he is, “The Word … the source of life, and this life brought light to humanity.” (John 1:4) Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12, NIV)
As we enter the season of Advent, the season of light of ever-increasing clarity, today’s verse makes a powerful and timely statement of truth, and brings a message of hope to a world out of step with God. Darkness has always existed yet it has no power to extinguish the smallest light; in fact the smallest light will illumine the darkness.
Jesus’ life on earth was marked by encounters with people out of step with God and Himself as, “people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.” (John 3:19, NIV)
Where does our allegiance lie?
As we anticipate the celebration of the birth of the Messiah Jesus in Bethlehem, let’s light a new candle in our homes and churches each week; and joyfully sing carols of his coming. Let’s use this special time to examine our hearts, confess our own darkness and let Jesus be our Light.
Prayer: “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” (Psalm 139:23-24, NIV) As you shine your light into my life help me to make a difference in this world. Amen.