Today is Epiphany, the time when we remember the coming of the wise men/magi to see the King of the Jews, the King of kings, in the tiny village of Bethlehem. From such humble estate comes the One who is the Savior of mankind. Born in Bethlehem, Joseph and Mary begin to raise Jesus in that little hamlet. The wonderful, peaceful and picturesque scene of the magi coming to see Jesus, presenting Mary with the gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh is followed by the surreal and gruesome attack of the soldiers of King Herod that kills all the male babies 2 years of age and under. How can such a terrible event follow such a glorious one?
Darkness is trying to overcome the Light. Darkness always tries to overcome the Light. Sin tries to destroy the gift of God. Satan is trying to stop the salvation of mankind. Jealousy tries to remove any competition. What we see happening in the Matthew 2 account of the coming of the magi and the death of the babies of Bethlehem is what takes place day after day. It might not be the actual murder of infants (though that happens in abortion every day), it is what takes place spiritually as parents do not teach their children about the Christ, as communities work to remove any sign of the Savior from the public view, as schools stop children from reading the Bible or praying publicly and so one.
Why do you think we are so tempted to not attend worship? Why do you think it is easier to let dust settle on the Bible than to pick it up and read it? Why do you think the FB app on your phone is used more than Bible app? It is because darkness (temptation, sin, the devil and the demonic horde) are working every day to overcome the Light of Christ in your life.
Can you work harder, try harder, be more convicted and overcome that darkness? No. What? Do you have a shocked look on your face? Does that mean that darkness is going to win? No it doesn't. Overcoming the darkness is not something YOU do. It is what Christ has done for you. He has already defeated the darkness in His life, death and resurrection. He gives that victory to you through faith, which He also gives to you. You do not overcome darkness. He overcame darkness. The Holy Spirit, through the Means of Grace, overcomes the darkness in your life.
Epiphany is not about what you can do to overcome the darkness. You and I are just like the magi, seeking out the One to whom we have been guided by the star (the Word or the prophets who lead us to the Light). We are drawn to Him. We are brought to the Light.
Then we rejoice. We give Him our gifts, gold frankincense and myrrh. Gold - that which is most precious to us. Frankincense - our prayers and praise. Myrrh - our life, dying to sin and rising to a new life in Christ.
Light overcomes darkness. The darkness cannot overcome Him.