January can seem like a dark and dreary month. The Christmas lights no longer brighten our homes and our streets. The brightly coloured decorations have been packed away for another year. The days are short and the nights are long and cold. What is left of Christmas now apart from the credit card bills?
If all there is to Christmas is a shopping spree, a mid-winter family get-together and too much food and drink, then the answer may be that there is little to cheer us in January.
But the Christian message is that what we celebrate at Christmas is just the beginning. We have celebrated that God entered into the world in human form as the baby Jesus. When Jesus grew up he lived a perfect life – never doing anything wrong – before dying on the cross for our forgiveness. Jesus said “I am the light of the world. He who follows me will not walk in the darkness but have the light of life” (John’s Gospel Chapter 8 Verse 12). Countless Christians down the ages have found this to be true. Knowing Jesus brings us light in a dark world.
Amid the darkness of evil, Jesus shows us what it means to be good and gives us the strength to avoid temptation. He forgives us and teaches us to forgive others.
Amid the darkness of hatred, Jesus loves us. Being loved by Jesus we are enabled to love others. We can make a surprising difference in the world when we respond to hatred with love.
Amid the darkness of despair and depression, Jesus brings us new hope. We may feel lost and abandoned – but God never abandons those who truly seek him.
It is amazing how even a small amount of light penetrates the darkness and makes it less dark. If we have Jesus, the “Light of the World”, with us day by day then the dark days will not seem as dark. If you do not yet know him then why not read one of the gospels in the Bible or come to Church one Sunday and start to learn how you can share in his light?