One of my favorite parts of Christmas is the lights. It seems that Christmas lights up the world.
Light is a major theme in the Bible. The Bible says in 1 John “God is light and in Him is no darkness at all.” The very first command that God gave in creation was, “Let there be light.” Jesus said, “I am the light of the world.” This is the very reason for Christmas.
John 12:46 “Jesus said, `I have come as a light to shine in this dark world, so that all who put their trust in me will no longer wander in darkness.” He’s not talking about physical darkness here. He’s talking about personal darkness.
Everybody has dark days. You don’t want to get out of bed. You’re afraid to face the world. You don’t feel like it’s worth the effort. You just want to throw in the towel. You don’t want to see anybody. We all go through dark days.
I want to look specifically at four types of dark days and how Christmas is the response to that through the life of Jesus. Dark days of:
Depression… maybe you can relate to at least one of these.
DARK DAYS OF DISAPPOINTMENT. Job 30:26 “I hope for happiness and light but trouble and darkness came instead.” Have you ever felt that way? Hoping for one thing but was disappointed.
There’s been a lot of disappointing news just lately in our society. The economy going down, the unemployment rate going up. There’s lots of disappointing news.
The fact is life is disappointing sometimes. Things don’t always work out as planned. Situations don’t always work themselves out. Presents you get at Christmas, you see under the tree, and you think you know what they are — some of you are in for some big disappointments. As a little boy you look and think, “I can tell that’s a basketball!” You open it up and it’s a globe!
Life is disappointing sometimes. We go through dark days of disappointment.
DARK DAYS OF DISTRESS. That’s when you feel overwhelmed, when you’re stressed out, stretched to the limit, frustrated. You’ve got too much to do and you don’t have enough time, you don’t have enough money, you don’t have enough energy.
Mary probably felt distressed in the very first Christmas. In the first place, she was nine months pregnant and she had to ride a donkey from Nazareth to Bethlehem. That would be stressful. She has the first baby alone in a stable. That would be stressful.
David experienced stress. “I cry desperately for help but it still does not come.” Have you ever felt that way? Help me, somebody! I’m overloaded! I’ve got too much to do! I’m stressed out.” But nobody helps me. Dark days of distress when you’re stretched to the limit.
That reminds me of the little boy that got separated from his mom at North Star Mall. He was standing by the door crying. People coming in started giving him money. The supervisor came over and said, “Don’t worry, son. I’ve found your mother. I know where she is.” The boy said, “I know where she, too. Please be quiet.”
My guess is that some of you are in dark days of distress right now. You may be stressed out financially. There’s too much of the month left over at the end of the money. I heard of a guy that went to a creditor and said, “We’re having trouble with your easy payment plan. Do you have an easier one?”
You can be stressed out physically. Your get up and go has got up and went. You don’t feel good and you don’t feel like doing anything. You get stressed out physically.
You can be stressed out relationally. Your marriage isn’t working out right. Your relationships aren’t working out right ‑- with your kids, your friends, your boss. When your expectations in a relationship aren’t met you get stressed.
DARK DAYS OF DOUBT. John 12:35 “The one who walks in the dark does not know where he is going.” He’s drifting; no clear objective. Do you ever lose your way? Do you ever feel like you’re up in a cloud and your head is in a fog? When you look at your past you get disappointments. When you look at your present situation, you get stress. When you look at your future, you get doubtful and worried.
Dark days of doubt. The one who walks in the dark doesn’t know where he’s going. Have you ever felt like that? What does my future hold? Where am I headed? You’re in a fog.
When you have dark days of disappointment and dark days of distress and dark days of doubt then comes …
DARK DAYS OF DEPRESSION. That’s when everything seems to cave in. When you’re depressed you feel like, “What’s the use?” You feel like giving up.
In World War II, Winston Churchill said when the war started in Europe, “The light has gone out in Europe.”
Some of you may feel that way about your life at times. The light has gone out of my life.” Lamentations 3:19-20 “the thought of my pain is bitter poison. I think of it constantly, and my spirit is depressed.” Some of you faced a major crisis this last year. Maybe it was a divorce, a death of a loved one, a defeat, maybe you got laid off, maybe you’ve faced a major illness and the truth be known, you don’t feel like being happy at the holidays. The happiness at the holidays only intensifies your pain and your loneliness. Maybe you feel like David said in Psalm 88 “Lover, friend, acquaintance — all are gone. There is only darkness everywhere!”
When you’re in that kind of situation, you wonder, “Does anybody care?”
If you don’t get anything else, get this: God cares. He cares about you because you matter to him. Your pain matters to Him and He cares about it.
Everyone of us are in one of three positions, one of three situations: Some of you are headed into dark days right now. You don’t know it but you’re headed right into them. Some of you are experiencing dark days right now. You’re in the middle of it. Some of you have just come out of dark days and you don’t realize you’re headed into some new ones.
That’s what life is all about. One problem solving incident after another. That’s life.
So where do you turn in your dark days. What’s the antidote? 1 Samuel 22:29 “You Lord, are my light; you dispel my darkness.” How does Christ do that? He says, “I’m the light of the world.” He came to light up our dark days. How does Christ dispel the darkness? How does He light up my life?
Because of Christmas you don’t have to stay in the dark. Jesus Christ wants to do some things in your life to dispel the darkness. I will finish this article on Monday before Christmas. Don’t quit! Don’t give up! There is hope in the Lord.