I have come as a light to shine in this dark world. John 12:46

During our church’s Christmas Eve service, one lit candle burned brightly on the platform. After singing carols together and hearing the nativity story, the lights were turned off and a darkness settled on the room. As the acapella sounds of “Silent Night” filled the sanctuary, candles throughout the room were lit one by one from the platform candle until the dark room glowed with light.

Candlelight services are one of my favorite Christmas traditions because of the wonder of watching the flickering light pierce the darkness. It’s a beautiful reminder that the baby Jesus we celebrate on Christmas Eve came “as a light to shine in this dark world” (John 12:46). Christ Himself declared that His purpose in coming to earth was “so that all who put their trust in [Him] will no longer remain in the dark” (v. 46).

Like the feeling of sitting in a dark sanctuary, there’s a harsh reality of living in darkness: the confusion of feeling alone, the discouragement and pain of suffering, the disorienting feeling of our own helplessness. Jesus came as a human because He didn’t want anyone to have to stay in that darkness (1:9; 12:46). Instead, He offers us light, in the form of a relationship with Him, so that we can know peace and joy. And once we have His light living in us, we can shine as lights to a hurting world (Matthew 5:14). Lisa M. Samra

When have you experienced piercing light in the darkness? How has knowing Jesus illuminated your life?

Jesus, help me to shine Your light living in me to others.

John 12:44–46

44 Jesus shouted to the crowds, “If you trust me, you are trusting not only me, but also God who sent me. 45 For when you see me, you are seeing the one who sent me. 46 I have come as a light to shine in this dark world, so that all who put their trust in me will no longer remain in the dark.