If God can summon light into existence when there was only darkness, surely He can send His light into the world with assurance of complete success, no matter how impossible the odds. For this is the miracle and the wonder of Christmas: The Light of the world was born in the darkness of night, as the Word of God lay in the manger unable to speak a syllable.
The title of this article is hard to believe, isn’t it?
Doesn’t it seem like every week we hear about wars and rumors of wars, about terrorism or mass shootings, about Christian persecution and cultural degradation? We can look back on this past year and think of loved ones who’ve died, or friends who’ve been diagnosed with cancer. And others who are gripped by addiction or saddled with chronic pain or mired in a depression that will not lift.
In our own lives, there are too many tears, too many unknowns, too many closed doors. It’s not hard to be discouraged, maybe even despair.
And yet, the spoiler is true: the darkness does not win.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” (John 1:1-5).
The symbolism of “light” in John’s Gospel has many layers. Light can refer to Christ (as in John 8:12, “I am the light of the world”), or to obeying the will of God (as in John 3:20, “everyone who does wicked things hates the light”), or to eternal life and the abundant life that can be found only in Christ (which is what verse 4 means by “In him was life, and the life was the light of men”). I think John is being deliberately ambiguous in verse 5. What he is saying is that the entire Light Side is victorious over the entire Dark Side.
Christians will not be overcome by the darkness—either amid our lifetime struggle with sin or in the life of eternal bliss to come—because we belong to the One who is the Light of the World. Darkness, which is John’s way of talking about the fallen world of sin and Satan, will not prove victorious in its long, persistent fight against the light.