I just got back from visiting an art exhibit at the library. There I saw amazing paintings, drawings, photography and sculptures by talented local art teachers; but I also got more than I bargained for. It was completely dark when I walked outside – next to the shortest day of the year – and I felt sickeningly dark inside, too.

Why? Because I had walked back to revisit one display on the back wall, and stood there reading a portion of the testimonies and letters of people affected by drugs – a mom who lost her best friend (daughter) – though still alive, now addicted to meth.. a former addict who said her mind is like a 14-year-old’s, though she is 45 – but she has been clean for 10 years, thank the Lord, and is blessed to have the Lord and loving family in her life.. a letter home from a daughter in a center..

The artist lamented the swelling drug problem in Lancaster. In all Ohio last year, 3,015 people died of overdoses, he reported. No one wants to think about such tragedies at Christmas time, but so many families are living these horrendous nightmares not of their choosing.

Of course the problems don’t stop at drugs, though that is problem enough. There is alcoholism, pornography, abuse.. We find ourselves or people around us struggling with addictions, and we all need help.

There is help, and hope, in Jesus.

To point to Jesus is not trite at all. In fact, He is the only hope. When Jesus came at the first Christmas, He shone light into this dark world, just like He will shine light into our lives when we accept Him. “In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.” (John 1:4)

Certainly, Jesus is the only One Who can, and will, break the chains around our lives. He alone can set us free.

I love the hopeful passage in Isaiah that talks about the affects of Jesus’ coming to earth:

“The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death, upon them a light has shined.” (Isa. 9:2)

At Christmas time especially, I want to focus on the light. Though even at Christmas time this city/nation/world may be a dark place for some, the Light of the world is still shining brightly – shining on us and in us if we open our hearts to Him.. The Light of the world is Jesus.