"The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it." - John 1:5
The next time you find yourself with a flashlight, an empty cardboard box and a little free time try this simple experiment. Bonus points if you get a child to help you.
First, close up the flaps of the box so it's good and dark in there. Then stick the flashlight inside and turn it on. What happens? Eureka! The box is full of light. Darkness has been vanquished!
Now let's see if it works the other way around. Hold the flashlight outside the box and turn it on. Here comes the tricky part so pay close attention: reach into the box, grab hold of some of the darkness, pull it out and place that inky gloom on the flashlight to smother the light.
If your box of darkness is anything like mine, you're having a bit of trouble getting the darkness to comply. Don't worry, this is very typical behavior. It's difficult to coax darkness out of the shadows. Try giving the dark the upper hand. Go into an unlit closet and close the door.
Surely there's more than enough darkness in there to overcome one measly little flashlight.
In fact, if you somehow mustered all the darkness in the world to surround you, this little light of mine will send it scurrying away. Here's why: darkness is only the absence of light. When light and darkness square off in the ring, darkness loses every time.
Remember that as Jesus gets closer to the cross.
Remember that when the darkness gathers in your life.
God, we praise you that you are light, and in you there is no darkness at all (1John 1:5).
Matthew Laney is the Senior Minister of Asylum Hill Congregational Church, UCC, in Hartford, Connecticut.