By April Graney
Just after facing the devil’s temptations in the wilderness, Jesus moved to Capernaum and began his public ministry. Matthew 4 tells us this fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah 9:2 which says, “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone.” The long awaited coming of Christ to earth brought light into a dark world. We can use the analogy of light and darkness to teach our children important spiritual truths.
God made a perfect world full of light.
Genesis tells us that the first thing God created was light. After creating the earth and all of the animals, God created Adam and Eve, and placed them in a garden where he walked with them daily. We need to teach kids that God’s original design for creation was perfect. We can still see glimmers of this in observing the creation around us, and exploring nature is one of the surest ways to inspire the awe of God’s creation. Pointing out the wonders of creation from the tiniest leaf bug to the Grand Canyon, or from the intricacy of our cells to the beauty of galaxies across the universe serve to point our children’s hearts to our marvelous maker.
Unfortunately, darkness came into the world.
Any child who has experienced being hurt by a friend, or felt the shame of stealing, or witnessed the nightly news probably already knows that there is darkness in our world, but they also need to know the origin of that darkness. Point them to the Genesis story that tells us that Adam and Eve were tempted by the devil to disbelieve and sin against God, and that because of this choice, sin and death and darkness came into the world. Kids don’t need an unhealthy occupation with the devil, but it is important for them to know that he is a deceiver who wants to trick us into disobeying God. It is important for them to know there is suffering and evil in this world because of the darkness that sin brought.
But the light has overcome it
The good news is that Jesus is the light of the world and He has overcome the darkness! A star led the wise men who followed it to the birthplace of the light of the world, Jesus. Just as shining a light in a dark room overpowers the darkness, so God’s light overcomes our darkness. John 1:4 says, “In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” This is a great time to share with your children how Jesus died, but he rose again! Death did not overcome Jesus just as darkness cannot overcome light.
We are all walking in darkness until we walk in the light with Jesus.
God’s word tells that there is no one righteous who is able to overcome the darkness on our own. But we can walk in the light instead of darkness when we believe Jesus died for our sins. His light overcomes our darkness. Jesus overcame darkness by taking the punishment for our sins on the cross. 1 John 2:1-2 says “My dear children, I write these things to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the father in our defense, Jesus Christ, the righteous one. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but for the whole world.” Now that’s good news we can share with our kids!
Children are often mesmerized by the light of Christmas, or the stars shining on a clear night, and using the analogy that the Bible clearly teaches about light and darkness can lead the way for them to understand more fully God’s plan for us. Ultimately, we want them to follow His light so that they can do as Matthew 5:16 says, “In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” Let’s raise children who will also be shining lights of hope to a darkened world. I