Date: December 12, 2021
Session: The Light in the Darkness
The Point: Jesus shines His light into a dark world.
Get Into the Study
Use the following story as an alternate introduction to this session.
On Thursday night, November 18, the moon underwent a partial lunar eclipse in which the moon was 97 percent covered by the earth’s shadow. The earth’s shadow blocked the light from the sun and cast a red hue on the moon for three hours and 28 minutes. This was the longest partial eclipse in 580 years, and skywatchers all over North America stayed awake to take in its beauty and its rarity.
Even when it’s waning, normally the only portion of the moon we see is the shining sliver that sparkles in the sky, standing out amongst the stars and reminding us that there is more to God’s creation than we will ever fully comprehend. But the moon being covered almost completely in the earth’s dark shadow in November meant that for three hours and 28 minutes, there was almost no visible light over North America. What a sight to behold!
Often, daily life feels a bit like we’re living in the longest eclipse in history. The darkness that surrounds us on earth and threatens to cover us at times can become all we see and experience. But Christ came to bring light to the darkest places in the world—and His light will overcome the presence of all darkness. As believers, we can rest in the eternal hope of Christ’s light. Imagine, after the lunar eclipse ended, how bright the moon must have seemed to those who were watching. As the moon reflects the light of the sun, as Christ’s image bearers, we reflect His great light in this world. May we never cease to lose hope in our source of light and joy, and remember that no matter how long this season of darkness may seem, there is always hope eternal.
Ashley Emmert is a freelance writer and full-time mama from Chicago, where she lives with her husband and two busy little boys.
Live It Out
Use the following as you conclude today’s session.
Ask: How has the end of daylight savings time impacted you this past month?
The days are continuing to get shorter as we approach the winter solstice on December 21st. Often referred to as the shortest day of the year, the winter solstice marks the official beginning of winter. Although still a 24-hour day, we will only experience around 8 or 9 hours of daylight. While we consider the entire day to be the solstice, the exact winter solstice only lasts for that one moment when our hemisphere is tilted as far away from the sun as it can be. The good news is that the days start getting “longer” again, with less darkness and more daylight, as soon as we pass that winter solstice threshold.
When you notice just how early it is getting dark, take a moment to pray about an area of darkness and sin in our world or your own life. Then, as you look forward to days with more daylight, thank the Lord for His light that has already overcome the darkness of this world.
Nikki Wilbanks grew up in Tennessee before heading to California to study literature at Pepperdine University. After graduation, she enjoyed a decade-long career as a commercial real estate appraiser and investor. Having returned to Tennessee with her husband, she is now thrilled to be a stay-at-home mom and writer.
- What’s the closest you’ve come to experiencing absolute darkness?
- What are the purposes of light?
- Are you more of a morning person or an evening person? Why?
- What aspects of our culture need the bright light of Jesus?
- What phrases in verses 2 and 3 describe the hope that God’s light brings?
- Why would someone choose to remain in spiritual darkness?
- How does Jesus bring light into your world?
- How should we understand the “Word” described in these verses?
- When did you first encounter the light of Jesus?
- Which description of Jesus in verses 1-8 encourages you today?
- What examples come to mind when you read these verses that are so heavily filled with light and dark imagery?
- How does the light of Jesus illuminate a person’s understanding?
For Those in Your Group
Send the following link to your group members as either a teaser before the group meets or as a follow-up thought:
A Wake-up Call: Why I Need Light
Click here for a 20-minute podcast for both the group member and the leader.
Podcast (adultsleadertraining): Play in new window | Download
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Pamela Davis says
Does Lifeway still offer the digital bundle of the Adult Personal Study Guides? I am not seeing it on the Lifeway web site for the Winter, 2022 unit. Thanks.
Lynn Pryor says
We have moved the digital files (PDFs) from My Curriculum Manager to Ministry Grid. It is a subscription model designed for the church. For the individual, I recommend purchasing the eBooks.
Jason Tony Clubb says
Live it out
Question #2 Why would it be improper or proper? Nothing in the advanced Bible Study lesson (Dec 12) provides any basis for this answer. Only reference is on page 30 ‘Some see this struggle as two equal and opposite powers opposing one another.’
Lynn Pryor says
The questions are not designed to call for a answer directly from the passage or commentary. Instead, they are meant to engage our critical thinking, leading us to draw conclusions based on our understanding and application of God’s Word.