Bethel International United Methodist Church
Complete Story


The Light of the World Has Come

A little light makes all the difference

I heard a story told about a young seminary student who was preparing a lesson on this 9th chapter of Isaiah. In verse 2 we hear that "The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness—on them light has shined."

As part of her research, the student decided to try to find the darkest place on campus. After hunting around, she discovered a little-used racket ball court in the basement of a classroom building. It was accessed only by going down two flights of steps and through a few heavy doors. A good portion of the court was probably underground. The student discovered that when you got inside, closed the doors and turned out the lights, it was really dark down there. In fact, it was actually scary dark.

When it came time for the student to lead her class through the lesson, she brought them down the stairs, through the doors, and sat them around the edges of the court. Then she said, "You are people who live in a land of deep darkness." And she turned out the lights. A few students gasped.

Then it got pretty quiet. She waited. In the hush and in the dark, everyone just sat. They sat and waited. After five long, silent, and totally dark minutes, she read Isaiah’s words: "Those who lived in a land of deep darkness—on them light has shined." With those words she struck a match and lit a small candle.

Now, as I understand it, by no means did that small candle fill the large room with light, but all the same it changed things. It changed them radically. With the flickering of the light, people saw themselves and they saw each other. They saw faces—surprised faces, puzzled faces, and even a couple of faces streaked with tears. For those in deep darkness, a little light made all the difference, all the difference in the world.

That’s the story behind the story of Christmas. That God enters into the darkness to sit alongside of us. That God refuses to dwell in the heavens above and from a safe distance watch the drama of our human lives play out. Instead, God climbs right into the darkest places to be with us. And because of that we can see things differently. We can see enough to find reason to hope.

For unto us a child is born,

Pastor Mike Signature