December 17, 2021

‘O Little Town of Bethlehem’

John 1:1-5

In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

—  John 1:4-5

The beginning of “O Little Town of Bethlehem” pictures a quaint village, peacefully asleep, unaware of what is taking place there on the night of Jesus’ birth.

“Yet in thy dark streets shineth the everlasting light. . . .” The prologue to John’s gospel describes Jesus’ coming in a similar way: “In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.” In the quaint village of Bethlehem, the “light of the world” (John 8:12) was born.

Notice the contrast between the dark streets of Bethlehem and the everlasting light. The world that Jesus was born into was full of the darkness of sin and evil. Until Jesus came, there was no hope of anyone getting out of that darkness.

But in one significant moment the light of the world comes in the birth of a baby. In that little child, as the Christmas song puts it, “The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight.”

In the birth of Christ we have the hope of coming out of the world’s darkness. Because of Jesus, we can leave the darkness of sin behind and begin a new life. As Jesus himself says in John 8:12, “Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

Are you living in that hope today? Look to the light! Follow Christ and live!

Jesus, light of the world, shine forever into the darkness of our hearts, and lead us to bring your light into the world around us. Amen.

About the author — Brian Kuyper

Brian Kuyper is the lead pastor at a church in Taber, Alberta. He has served in two congregations in southern Alberta over the past 12 years. He is married to Brenda, and they have three school-age children.

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