This is the one-hundred-eighty-eighth lesson in author and pastor Mel Lawrenz’ How to Live the Bible series. If you know someone or a group who would like to follow along on this journey through Scripture, they can get more info and sign up to receive these essays via email here.

“For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all people, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel.” Luke 2:30-32

A photo of a sun rise over a farm

The winter solstice on December 21 is the darkest day of the year. For those of us who live halfway between the equator and the North Pole, that means we eat breakfast when it’s still dark outside and by suppertime the sun has long set. That slide toward the shortest day of the year seems like sinking into a black hole. No wonder people in ancient cultures celebrated the days when the sun began to return. The prophet Malachi spoke of the healing power of light: “The sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings” (Mal. 4:2).

Eight days after Jesus’ birth, Mary and Joseph took him to the temple as the law required. A man named Simeon saw Jesus, and his eyes were opened to the reality of Jesus’ identity. His eyes saw God’s salvation. There, in human form. Simeon was at the right place, at the right time. And Jesus was brought to earth not by royalty, but by an ordinary couple. Simeon saw in Jesus a brilliant light that would show the way to salvation—not just for Israel, but for all nations.

The days were dark then. It was hard to know when deliverance from the tight grip of the Romans might come. Roman taxation was heavy; the sight of soldiers in the streets was a constant insult; war was always just a rumor away. The occupiers built unfamiliar buildings. It was difficult to settle into a normal pattern of living when on a whim, an emperor in a faraway land could demand a census that sent you packing your bags.

The days are dark now as well. Not just because it is late December, but because more and more generations are turning their backs on faith; because wars rage on; because so many families are losing their homes and their jobs; because every day the evening news delivers more stories about murder, disaster, rape, and abuse.

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But even in so much darkness, the light will never be forgotten. Light is not an illusion; in fact, darkness has no real substance. It is nothing more than the absence of light.

We need to see salvation as Simeon did—here and now. We need to use this Christmas to look at the One who has been “prepared in the sight of all people” (Luke 2:31). The public Savior; the beacon for the world; the light for revelation.


Lord, open my eyes as Simeon’s eyes were opened to the Lord Jesus. Help me to see your light that I may live in truth and comfort in this dark world. And help me reflect your light to the many needy people around me.

[See previous – Different King, Different Kingdom]


[If you believe this series will be helpful, this is the perfect time to forward this to a friend, a group, or a congregation, and tell them they too may sign up for the weekly emails here]

Mel Lawrenz (@MelLawrenz) trains an international network of Christian leaders, ministry pioneers, and thought-leaders. He served as senior pastor of Elmbrook Church in Brookfield, Wisconsin, for ten years and now serves as Elmbrook’s teaching pastor. He has a PhD in the history of Christian thought and is on the adjunct faculty of Trinity International University. Mel’s many books include Spiritual Leadership Today: Having Deep Influence in Every Walk of Life (Zondervan, 2016). See more of Mel’s writing at WordWay.

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