If you are somewhere safe and secure, a dark, clear, night brings the opportunity to gaze upon the stars, to wonder at their beauty and marvel at the complexity of the universe. We are so tiny compared to the cosmos and a few moments’ thought may strike us with awe or a sense of humility.
Darkness, though, may mean something quite the opposite to us. An ill-lit path of an evening may make us feel nervous. For some people, darkness may help cover up illegal or anti-social behaviour. Indeed, we describe some terrible things that people may do as “deeds of darkness”. Then again, for some of us, there may be a sense of darkness within ourselves: perhaps of loneliness or guilt or despair.

To all our darknesses came Jesus the Light of the world; like the dawning of the sun outshining all the stars of the night, the power of God’s love and life shines through Jesus into the world.
Light, which defeats darkness, is one way to understand the Christmas message. It is a message of hope for the world, which we celebrate at Jesus’ birthday in Bethlehem. It is also a message of joy for Christians who pray, as it says in the carol, “be born in us today”.

O holy Child of Bethlehem,
Descend to us, we pray;
Cast out our sin, and enter in,
Be born in us today.
We hear the Christmas angels
The great glad tidings tell:
O come to us, abide with us,
Our Lord Emmanuel.

Phillips Brooks (1835-93)

May the light of Christ shine for you this season. Amen.