Light for a Darkened World
December 1, 2003 - "Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men."—John 1:3-4, NIV
A Message by Billy Graham
No informed person today will deny that the human race walks in darkness. We face dilemmas and problems that seemingly have no answer. Many observers despair of solving the problems of the world; they suspect that we are people who not only walk in darkness but who walk in darkness to our doom.
At the root of our problems is our continuing attempt to live without God. For years people have been seeking to organize human life without Him. They have tried to thrust Him out of the universe. Critics are attacking evangelical Christianity throughout the world. Because they find it hard to believe in God, they have transferred their faith to man. They have invented a creed that is the worship of humanity. "Glory to man in the highest" is their theme.
This worship of human nature feeds on our own conceit. We have been told, especially in some of our classrooms, that there is no sin, that the human race simply has a bit of selfishness that time will correct. It flatters the egoism in us; it seems to make redemption unnecessary; it empties the cross of its meaning. People will grow better, we are told.
However, the failure to solve the problems of the world has shattered the hopes of many. We are more unsure of peace and have less freedom than ever before. We have built a world of technology and spaceships, but we also have the possibility of terrorist attacks, of chemical and biological weapons, of radiation poisoning, of snipers and of suicide bombers. In our brilliance without God we have become fools.
We look at the world today and wonder at the incredible folly of it—the ignorant conceit, the puffed-up egos, the headlong pursuit of pleasure without regard for consequences. It is obvious that unredeemed humanity without the help of God will take the path of destruction, judgment and hell. We stand on the very edge of Armageddon.
But into this world of madness comes an event that can change everything. It can bring peace to our hearts, healing to our relationships, correction to our self-image, light to our darkness. This event is Christmas. Yes, Christmas—but not the "Christmas" that so many people observe today, that secular celebration of materialism and consumerism.
To some, Christmas merely means an opportunity to make more money. Some people vie with each other in their preparation for the celebration of the occasion. Some of them do not believe in Christ; they may even hate Him. But Christmas has become big business, and it cannot be ignored. They are more concerned to hear about their profit from Christmas than to hear about the Prophet from Bethlehem; the clinking sound of money is sweeter to them than the announcement of Jesus' birth by the angels to the shepherds.
Others try to find a merry Christmas in what they call entertainment and fun. Instead of imbibing the Spirit of Christmas, they choose to imbibe spirits at Christmas. For many people the holiday is an opportunity to celebrate in the wrong way.
So what is Christmas, really, and why is it an event that can change everything? Christmas is the celebration of the event that set heaven singing. It marks the entrance of God into human history in a way never before seen. For in the birth of Jesus, "The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us" (John 1:14, KJV). At a specific time and place, a specific Person was born, and that Person was the Lord Jesus Christ.
From the lips of Jesus Himself came these words, "The Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost" (Luke 19:10, KJV). Like piercing trumpets these words herald the breaking of the Divine into human history. What a wonderful and glorious hope we have because of that first Christmas!
Christ came into a world that was facing problems very much like the ones we grapple with today. We often imagine that the world Jesus came to was not complicated, that its problems were not complex. But historians tell us otherwise. The problems of that day were similar to the problems of our day.
And right into the center of this kind of life came Jesus Christ. He said, "Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest" (Matthew 11:28, KJV). He also said, "I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly" (John 10:10, KJV).
Jesus had a healing word for everyone. At this Christmas season, despite the affluent society that surrounds us, many find life a burden. Purpose and zest have fled, hearts ache with emptiness, and even the joys of this happy season leave many lonely and wistful.
This Christmas the Lord Jesus Christ stands at the door of your heart and knocks, saying, "If you will open that door, I will come in to you and sup with you, and you with me" (Cf. Revelation 3:20). In other words, Jesus wants to have Christmas with you!
Christmas means that Emmanuel has come—that "the people ... in darkness have seen a great light" (Isaiah 9:2, KJV) and that He walks with us through the shadows—it means that "God is with us" (Cf. Matthew 1:23). It means that our sordid, failure-fraught past can be wiped out by His sacrifice on the cross and that we can become members of God's family, heirs of God and citizens of heaven. Christmas means that Jesus comes into the night of our suffering and sorrow, saying, "I am with you. Let Me share your burdens."
Today, in spite of all the darkness and despair, in spite of all the headlines about murders, riots, terrorism and war, there is hope. For Jesus Christ, whose birth we celebrate at Christmas, died for our sins and rose from the dead. He is alive today. He is alive to conquer your despair, to give you hope, to forgive your sins and to take away your loneliness. He is alive to reconcile you to God.
This Christmas, accept Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord. Put your faith and trust in Him. Give Him your heart, your soul, your life. The human race walks in darkness, but God offers us light. He offers every one of us eternal life if we will put our faith in Jesus Christ.
Will you accept Christ into your heart this Christmas season? He can bring light to your darkness and give you a fresh start. You can begin a relationship with Christ right now.