Most of us can remember being scared of the dark, but how many of us realize that we are scared of the light? I was confronted with this thought by Fr. Jed Roseberry during his Christmas Eve sermon. We read the passage from Luke 2:8-20 when the angels appeared to the shepherds to tell them that Jesus had been born.
The angels appeared and the glory of the Lord shone all around them. They were startled by one at first, then a whole host of angels. The recounting of the story causes us to wish we were there. We would love to see an angel with a special and powerful message from God. But that wasn’t the case.
The shepherds weren’t scared of the dark; they were scared of the light! The shepherds were quite comfortable in their darkness. They knew what to expect. They had grown comfortable living in darkness. They prepared themselves as best they could for sudden occurrences (excluding angels appearing to them, that is). They were equipped for the darkness. They probably assigned one shepherd to be on watch after they bedded the sheep in a way that best protected them from the predators of the night. The darkness didn’t bother them one bit; what terrified them was the light.
We aren’t much different than the shepherds. We don’t want to admit it, but the light does not seem our friend. Otherwise we wouldn’t avoid the light as much as we do. We really don’t pursue the light. Without being aware of it, we end up getting quite comfortable in our darkness—the darkness of our souls, the darkness of our behaviors, the darkness of our thoughts. We start believing that the darkness is good for the soul.
In Matthew 6:22-23, Jesus exhorts us:
“The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness.”
If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness! Shining your own light into your soul won’t get you very far on the spiritual journey. What light do you use to see whether you are full of light or, in reality, full of darkness? You need the Light of the World to come and show you true light. John 3:19-21 explains,
“This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.”
Are you like the shepherds, loving the darkness rather than the light? Loving light is about recognizing that your heart is always dark without Christ’s light. The story of the shepherds shows us that with God’s help one can become adjusted to the light.