The holidays aren’t easy for all of us. Painful memories tend to resurface around this time of year; the nights are long and the days are short; and merriment is tinged with yearning. Then, just a few days after the darkest day of the year, we welcome Christmas.
Historically, it’s fitting that Christmas is celebrated in the darkest time of the year. In fact, the very first Christmas dawned after 400 years of silence from God. Generations had come and gone – and they had heard nothing new from Him.
Then, in the perfect fullness of time, while some gave up hope and others eagerly kept watch, He spoke! It wasn’t the first time God had spoken light into darkness. Genesis 1:1-4 tells us, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. And God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light. And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness.”
In the incarnation, we see the beginning of a new creation. As Isaiah foretold, “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone” (Isa. 9:2). John later affirmed, “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” (Jhn. 1:5). Just as God spoke light into darkness at the creation of the world, with Jesus’ birth, “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory” (Jhn. 1:14).
Are your days covered with darkness this holiday season? May I suggest that the brightest light is about to illuminate you? Celebrating Christmas doesn’t require perfect circumstances at the present but rather a “thrill of hope”: “For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal” (2 Cor. 4:17-18).
So, like that night long ago, Christmas is still filled with longing. But it’s longing with a promise. As we carol, “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” this season, let’s set our faces toward His second coming and usher in His Kingdom. Let’s shout the Good News from the mountaintops and encourage one another with His Word. Let’s “shine as lights in the world” (Phil. 2:15) and share His goodness with those who so desperately need it. We don’t journey through this season of darkness alone. He is with us (it’s in His Name!). “Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!” (Rev. 22:20)
EDITOR | The Messenger Magazine
Scripture quotations are from The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.