It is the season of Epiphany. For those of you who are not familiar with that word, it is the period after Advent in the liturgical year of the church. The word itself means something like “appearance.” The season spends time on various aspects of Christ’s appearance on earth prior to Lent, the season where we focus on his passion.
Epiphany is often associated with light. Christ is the light of the world. And one of the texts, sometimes read or referred to at this time of year is John 1.
John 1 happens to be one of my favorite texts about Jesus. In an incredibly poetic way, John tells us, in a nutshell, everything we need to know about Jesus. It is nearly impossible to read it without an overwhelming sense of awe.
And also a sense of wonder.
John writes, “The light shines in the darkness and the darkness did not overcome it.”
The darkness did not overcome it.
I know that the darkness of sin and evil did not ultimately overcome the power of God on Easter. I get that.
I also know that the darkness of this world will not ultimately triumph. The final victory is assured.
But doesn’t it sometimes seem like the darkness is, in fact, overcoming the light? Don’t you ever feel that way? Like ‘this little light of mine’ makes no eternal difference at all?
I know that I feel that way at times.
Nearly everything around me tells me that what I am doing is ridiculous. People don’t care about things like doctrine or even right living any more. People care about what makes them feel good. And much of what I have to say doesn’t make anyone feel good.
At least not right away…
But the great thing about Epiphany is that it tells us not about the Light that came into the world and then left. It reminds us of the Light who came into the world and lived with us. This Light understands our weaknesses and our discouragement. And this Light did not leave us alone.
God sent the Holy Spirit to be with us, to guide us and encourage us when the darkness seems ready to overcome us.
And the Holy Spirit also inwardly assures us that Christ was not the last word. He is the first word of redemption. A word that allows us to glimpse a future where the darkness is dispelled forever.
“The light shines in the darkness and the darkness did not”….and will not….“overcome it.”