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Written by Ryan Harmon

“Will you just shut that stupid thing off?!”  I was running toward a friend in the dark when these words bolted from my mouth. One summer I was at a summer camp that hosted a late night game of manhunt:  you know, the game where everyone hides, each trying to be the last one discovered (more than likely the winner was found hiding under port-a-potty or the girls’ cabin. Like most teenage boys, my friends and I were led away from the game by our short attention spans to a field where we elected to chase each other in the dark.

When you are running full-speed in the dark, a sudden burst of light from a flashlight can be more deadly than a thousand fleas nesting in your armpits. I mean, we’ve all been there haven't we? Picture it. You and a few of your best friends have a sleepover. It’s like 4:00am before you finally decide to be the mature one and go to sleep. Your friend, on the other hand, elects to play Fortnite for another 20 before opening the door to your room and flicking on the old iPhone flashlight while looking for their backpack. In that moment you want nothing more than to snatch that iPhone out of their hand and throw it in the microwave.

How can light be both good and bad, wanted and unwanted, necessary and not?

But what is it about light that can be so intrusive and unwanted? How can light be both good and bad, wanted and unwanted, necessary and not?

In John’s Gospel account, Jesus gives us His opinion: “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.” The way He sees it, darkness and light are two polar opposites that have nothing to do with each other. He tells us that darkness and light can’t happen at the same time.

Light is offensive. It offends the darkness and lights up everything that hides behind the blanket of night until nothing is left in the shadows. Not only is this true in a dark field or a friend’s house, but Jesus says this is what being a Christian - a follower of Jesus - is like. We leave the darkness of our old lives and step into the beautiful, full, adventurous life as a believer.

The beautiful thing about light is that it brings out the true beauty in everything. In the darkness, everything looks the same. Every tree in the forest and every painting on the wall look identical. It’s not until the sun rises and the lamp is turned on that we see the true beauty and diversity in every leaf and stroke of the brush.

You, me, and all of mankind have been given an offer we simply cannot refuse: to live a life of beauty, free from the temporary comforts of darkness and full of unending love and affection from our Heavenly Father. He is crazy about his children and right now He’s searching for people just like you and me to shower with a light so mighty and bright, all of death and darkness couldn’t hold it back.

All we need to do is surrender our lives to Christ and step fully - not halfway - into that bright, marvellous light called Jesus.