Christian Concern Communications Manager, Paul Huxley, reflects on how Jesus is our light in the darkness.
Halloween – and the time around it – provides one of the best opportunities for Christians to speak of the goodness and lordship of Jesus.
Well-meaning, Bible-believing Christians disagree on the best approach to Halloween. Some point to pagan origins; others point to Christian origins. Some think it’s a celebration of all that is evil; others think it is a mockery of all that is evil.
Whatever you think, remember this: light triumphs over darkness.
This place was made by God. It is ruled by Jesus, the King of Kings. And nothing can dethrone him.
That is true on 31 October (Halloween) and it is true on 1 November (All Saints Day). It’s just as true as I write in 2019 as it was in all of Church history.
The darkness cannot hide and its defeat is inevitable.
Post tenebras lux – light after darkness
Darkness against light is an unfair fight. Darkness flees away in the presence of light – even on the darkest night, a tiny torch or even a candle can make everything visible.
Post tenebras lux is Latin for ‘light after darkness’. It was a rallying call at the time of the protestant reformation as Christians rediscovered important truths about the grace and goodness of God.
It was on 31 October that the reformer Martin Luther nailed 95 theses to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg. It appears that he didn’t have the slightest clue what monumental effect this would have – not only within the Church, but within western philosophy and political history.
Christians to this day debate Luther’s legacy; some holding Reformation Day parties, others lamenting the split of the church. But there’s no questioning that God can use one little spark to set the world on fire.
Jesus is King
Global superstar Kanye West released his latest album, Jesus is King last Friday. In it, the king of culture – someone who has revelled in just about every vice the world has to offer – bows before the King of Kings. Christ is being proclaimed through his lyrics; one of the tracks, God Is samples a 1979 track of the same name declaring “God is my light in darkness”.
In an ‘Airpool Karaoke’ video, Kanye says that his conversion to Christ is an awakening – that he has gone from darkness to light, from death to life.
James Corden, brought up in the Salvation Army, is caught up in the gospel choir-led praise and looks on with amazement when Kanye says that his normal, preferred evening is at home, having dinner, playing with his children and reading his Bible.
No one knows what kind of fruit his message may bear in the long term, but we can all thank God that the light of Christ is shining in a place that was once dark. And we can pray that God would strengthen Kanye to live wholly for God’s glory and to shine light into many people’s lives.
Shine as lights
The apostle Paul was a persecutor of Christians, living in darkness until he was blinded by the light of Christ on the road to Damascus. It was a road that led Paul to multiple beatings, stonings and prisons. From prison in Rome, he wrote to the church in Philippi:
“Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure
Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labour in vain. Even if I am to be poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrificial offering of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all. Likewise you also should be glad and rejoice with me.” (Philippians 2:12-18 ESV)
We are children of God in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation. We see great darkness around us – not primarily in Halloween celebrations but in the celebration of gender confusion, sexual sin and abortion.
It would be easy to think that the darkness will overwhelm us. But God, through Paul, says that we shine like lights even now, as we hold fast to the word of life.
This Halloween, and whenever the darkness feels very real, remember that Jesus, the light of the world remains on the throne of Heaven, seated at God’s right hand.
The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not – and will not – overcome it.