John 3:19 - And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil.
Long about the end of July and the beginning of August, when the temperature runs over 100 degrees, it's not unusual for one Texan to greet another individual with the rhetorical question: "Well, is it hot enough for ya?"
This winter in Russia the opposite appears to be true.
This year the Russian winter has made the internal temperature of my house freezer seem like Hawaii. And if you're wondering just how cold has it been, I can tell you. In Yakutsk, the country's coldest cold spot, the thermometer seems to be stuck at 80 degrees below zero Fahrenheit. Folks, that's cold.
But it's not Russia's cold which is the subject of this devotion. It's the darkness.
Did you know, in December of 2000, the city of Moscow set a record because that month had only three hours of sunlight. That's three hours for the entire month! Well, that record is now a thing of the past. That's because this past December, looking as hard as they could, the people of Moscow could confess to having a grand total of six minutes of accumulated sunlight.
That's gloomy. That's dismal, dark, depressing, and discouraging.
That's the kind of weather that has people turning to the bottle or making an appointment with their counselor or placing a desperation call to the local suicide hotline. It's also part of the reason that not many tour companies host a lot of tourist trip to Russia's capital in December.
Surprisingly, the darkness which sin brings about in this world does not create a similar reaction.
By inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the apostle John notes that because their deeds were dark unrepentant souls loved the darkness and rejected the light. Although almost 20 centuries have come and gone since John put those words to paper, not much has changed.
Dark is still the preferred lighting level for those who disobey the Laws of the Lord or the land.
That's because it's easier to get away with sinning when the lights are dimmed, and it's easier to pretend you're a law-abiding individual if no one can clearly see the bad nasties you have been doing in the dark.
In contrast to what the people of the world prefer, we have the light of the Lord.
Born in Bethlehem, crucified in Jerusalem, Jesus did not just bring light into the world; He is the Light of the world. His life, death, and resurrection offer us the opportunity of being moved into the light which comes from having been given blood-bought forgiveness and eternity-changing salvation.
Washed in His blood, we are moved to leave the darkness behind and embrace with gladness the warmth and brightness of the Christ's redemption.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, when I lived in the darkness, it seemed a comfortable enough place to be. I give thanks that the Holy Spirit has called me by the Gospel and brought me into the light. Now may I, as much as I am able, be glad to reflect that light into dark hearts everywhere. In Jesus' Name I pray. Amen.
The above devotion was inspired by a number of sources, including one written by Jenn Gidman on January 18, 2018 for Newser. Those who wish to reference that article may do so at the following link, which was fully functional at the time this devotion was written: click here.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries
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