The Light Shines in the Darkness

Some people are particularly susceptible to wintertime blues. Psychologists call it Seasonal Affective Disorder.

The condition’s acronym is “S-A-D,” and sadness is the most evident symptom. The disorder can lead to difficulty in relationships as people get socially withdrawn. It can lead to trouble at work as people lose the ability to function well. And it can lead to substance abuse as people try to self-medicate. Psychologists worry that Seasonal Affective Disorder will hit us particularly hard this winter because of the pandemic. The disorder seems to strike during the short winter days when there’s less light, so psychologists prescribe more light to counteract it. We’re advised to get outdoors in the daytime, and to flood our homes with at least 10,000 lux of light when indoors.

“May it be a light to you in dark places when all other lights go out.”

Just as physical darkness can impact our bodies, spiritual darkness can impact our souls. We need light. And John says we have it in Jesus. “The light shines in the darkness,” he wrote in John 1:5, “and the darkness has not overcome it.”

Notice the two verbs in that sentence. Something is ongoing because something has already happened. The light shines in the darkness because the darkness has not overcome it. That’s a reference to Christ’s glorious resurrection following his brutal death on the cross.

In The Lord of the Rings, Galadriel gave Frodo a crystal phial for his journey. “May it be a light to you in dark places,” she said, “when all other lights go out.” If you know the story, you know it turned out to be a useful gift indeed.

We sometimes find ourselves in dark places. Fear. Shame. Temptation. Despair. Bitterness. When we journey through any of these cold shadowy places, we have something far better than the Phial of Galadriel. We can defiantly raise the bright victory of Christ’s empty cross to dispel the darkness.

This Sunday we’ll explore that wonderful truth. At 10am, join us on campus or online!


This is from my weekly devotional, Winning Ways. Sign up here to receive it in your email inbox.