Part 4: “Darkness Doesn’t Get to Win”
By Tensley Almand
Each December, we recount the details of the first Christmas so often that they’re almost empty syllables at this point. We throw around words like “manger,” without picturing the reality of childbirth in what probably amounted to a pig pen.
Now, I’m not going to make you go through any sort of “close your eyes and imagine the scene” exercise, but I do want to invite you to think about these events as more than a folk story set to a song. You have Caesar in his palace in Rome, confident that history will remember his name. Meanwhile, the only figure from this period whose impact will last beyond their time on earth is being born in a barn on the outskirts of a town so small that it’s barely on the map.
In hindsight, it’s not surprising that the dark world of those ancient human kingdoms didn’t recognize the Light when it landed among them. I am sure that it would shock the leaders of that world to know that the most transformative figure in human history was being born right under their noses.
In fact, in the first chapter of John, it almost comes across like the source of all power is showing up in such a way as to mock our very ideas about who matters, what’s important, and where authority comes from.
And all these years later, on the other end of history, we remember the child born that night as a king who would show us what true power looks like by giving up his rights and dying to serve people who hated him.
Even though it has often seemed in the years since then that the darkness was going to snuff that Light out, it never has, and John promises us that no matter how hopeless things may feel, it never will.
As we’ve talked about this month, he tells us, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1 NIV).
He reminds us, “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us, and to all who believed, he gave the right to become children of God” (John 1:13 NIV).
And when our hopes are dashed, John assures us, “In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” (John 1:4–5 NIV).
So as we celebrate this week, let the words of John remind you and all of us that no matter what we’re facing or how dark it seems, Christmas is a celebration of the Light that came into our world to offer us hope when things seem hopeless, to offer us grace when we fall short, and to offer us assurance that the darkness doesn’t get to win.