Here is a Christingle talk I prepared. It isn’t going to be used this year, but filed away for now.
Let me tell you a story about when I was a child.
I grew up in London, and one year our family decided to have a summer holiday in Scotland. It would be a long distance away, and my Dad didn’t want to drive all the way there and back.
So he booked us on a special overnight train from London to Perth in Scotland. It carried the cars at the back, and we went to special bedrooms in the main part of the train. We were to sleep in bunk beds while the train sped through the night to Scotland. My Dad and my sister shared one bedroom, my Mum and I shared another.
There was one problem: as a child, I was afraid of the dark. At home, we used to leave the landing light on at night, so that I wouldn’t be worried at night. But you couldn’t do that on the overnight train. So I insisted that Mum and I kept the main light on in the room all night.
I don’t think we slept much.
Is anyone else here afraid of the dark? I wonder why we are scared of the dark. Sometimes we think there are monsters at the end of our bed. Other times we hear the house creak and we think it’s going to collapse. In other words, we connect the darkness with bad things, scary things, horrible things.
So if we think about the darkness as something bad, we think about the light as something good. And when we call Jesus ‘the light of the world’ or ‘the light that shines in the darkness’, we are saying there is something good about him. He shines light – goodness – into the darkness. The Bible says, ‘The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it.’
And that’s what we’re celebrating at Christingle and at Christmas. We know there is a lot of darkness in the world. That is, we know there is a lot of bad in the world: people are selfish, greedy, angry, they hurt people and so on. But we believe that light has come. Jesus is the light and the darkness cannot win in the end.
How is Jesus the light in the darkness? He starts with us. He wants to forgive the darkness in us. He took that darkness upon himself. That’s why when he died on the Cross, the sky went dark. Then he wants to change us, to live more like him. He shows us the way to live a good life, full of light, and he offers us his power to live that way. He also promises that one day he will judge the world, and the evil darkness will be gone.
This Christmas, as you take your Christingles away with you, look at the candle. Remember Jesus, the light of the world, who can shine his light into your world when the dark things worry you. Remember Jesus the light of the world, whose light can change the darkness of our own bad things. Remember Jesus the light of the world, who promises one day to chase all the darkness away.