Light of the world

By Rev. Fr. Eva Chuma Nnamene

Darkness and light are contrasting images. Such contrast may have arisen from the naturally induced daytime and nighttime differences that we find in the scripture (Genesis 1). It is like, once there is light, darkness is dispelled, and once there is no light there is bound to be darkness. However, some physicists think that it is only light that exists; that darkness is only the absence of light (Bishop Onah's Exhortation on Christ the King, 2014).

Whatever is one's perspective, darkness is laden with fear. Darkness throbs the heart. And things that happen in the dark are horrifying as well. Crimes are committed at night or in the dark, or at a time similar to nighttime and darkness. It is in the dark that neighbours dig pitfalls for their colleagues. It is in dark that people betray others. It is in the dark that people cheat others. It is in the dark that saboteurs go to "ije utukpe" and cause the entire community to nullify their initial agreement.

It was in the dark that the Serpent accosted Eve and soiled her heart to abide by God's directives of avoiding the forbidden fruit. Consequently, it was in the dark that our first parents - Adam and Eve, thus soiled by Serpent, committed the original sin. But then, when God drove them out of the Garden of Eden, He gave mankind the hope of the birth of a light that would restore the havoc of the darkness of sin (Genesis 3: 15-16).

Later on the Prophet Isaiah would prophesy about the land of Zebulun and Naphtali, the city shrouded in darkness that eventually saw a great light (Isaiah 9: 1-2). Of course, that light was identified with the Son that was born and given unto mankind, and who has authority placed upon his shoulder; and was destined to be the Wonderful Counsellor and the Prince of Peace; and His reign was ordained to last forever (Isaiah 6: 6-7).

Earlier, Isaiah had foretold of the virgin birth of a Son who would be called Immanuel to salvage God's people from their sins (Isaiah 7: 14). When eventually, that Child was born (John 1: 1-14), the prophecies were not only fulfilled, the Light was truly shone on earth, and shattered the shackles of death and sin. The birth of that Child itself was the gift of life and light to the world.

When Jesus grew up, and began His ministry, He assumed the position of the Light of the world. He himself said "I am the light of the world. Whoever that follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life" (John 8: 12). The truth is that, in His mercy, God showered His Light upon earth to illuminate those who are in the shadow of death and sin.

Wherever that Light has touched, whoever have been illuminated by that Light, there is a change of heart, and a change of life. When that Light was shone on Saul, who was "breathing threats and beatings against the disciples" he became Paul - a new person and a new life (Acts 9: 1-18). Our world today is replete with stories of those whom that Light touched, and what changes it brought into their lives. That Light changed the life of the woman found at Jacob's well (John 4).

That Light made a saint of Augustine of Hippo. That Light gave life to those who were born twins in our own Igbo land. That Light restored human dignity to millions slaves during the slave trade, and gave them back life and freedom. That Light restored human dignity to our female folks. It is the effects of that Light that gave about 80% of the Saudi Arabian women the opportunity to vote and be voted for at the first time in their lives on 12th December 2015.

Probably, you and I are able visit our village to celebrate Christmas this year because that Light has destroyed the obnoxious plots to poison us and blot out our lives during festivities which scared the hell out of us in the past. When we look around our world, we see the fulfilment of the prophecy of Isaiah on the peace that reigns in His days (Isaiah 11: 1-11): the days of the Light of the World; the days of Christ.

It is true that our world is still war-torn and violent ridden, but there are testimony after testimony where former foes have become great friends because of the Gospel. Christ himself invites us, and in deed, all his followers to be the light of the world too (Matthew 5: 14-16). As Christians we are expected to carry the Light of Christ to the utmost bounds of the world.

What is more, the motto of the St Christopher's informs us that "it is better to light one candle than to curse the darkness". We should therefore, use all our God given talents, time and treasures to make the world a better place. There is no time better than the Christmastide to do that. Let us go carry Christ's Light to the utmost bounds of our world. And as we do this, merry Christmas and prosperous New Year!!!

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