Submitted by Pastor Donna Fuller, United Methodist Churches, Rock Port and Watson, Mo.

“Again Jesus spoke to them saying, ‘I am the light of the world.  Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.’”  John 8:12
We are still deep in the midst of winter.  The hours of daylight are short and the hours of the darkness of night are long.  We have had bitter cold temperatures, along with the snow and ice that come with the lack of sunlight.  And with the cold comes other problems such as cars not starting or accidents as cars slip on the ice.  Some people struggle to heat their homes as they lack insulation or the funds to pay higher utility bills.  Many people also suffer from depression at this time of year caused by the lack of light or the lack of social connections.
Yet the days in January are slowly getting lighter.  Each day there are a few more minutes of light.  But even as we live through more months of winter, there is a greater light that can shine through the darkest days.  It is no coincidence that we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ near the winter solstice, the day of shortest daylight.  For it is the midst of the darkest of days that Jesus came, and no matter the type of darkness, Jesus can shine the light of God’s love for the world in the darkest of places.
So I invite you this January to choose to walk in the light that Jesus brought to the world.  See the light on the darkest of days.  Let the light shine into the dark places of your soul.  Watch for those moments when the sun shines on the snow in the colors of the rainbow.  Spread the light you see to others.  Visit someone who is shut inside their house.  Talk with someone who seems sad.  Find out if your neighbors have enough heat and help them if they don’t.  Feel the joy of never walking in darkness no matter how dark the world may seem.  There is more power in walking in the light that Jesus offers than anything we can imagine.  Because when we let Jesus’ light in, the darkness has no choice but to depart.