The darkness engulfs the sky earlier each day. Just a few months ago, we could eat our dinner outside, as the sun provided us with warmth and light. Now, our evening meal is consumed in the house, where the kitchen fixture shines in bold contrast to the black blanket outside the window.
In the afternoon, when the sun blazes in the sky and reflects off the snow, the world is aglow in beauty. I don’t take that moment for granted. I’ve learned when living in the north that we must enjoy the brightness when it materializes. For in just a matter of hours, light will disappear behind the horizon, not to be seen again until the dawn.
There are some who struggle with seasonal depression at this time of year due to the sun’s limited appearances. There is an exhaustion that comes with the gloom of this long night, a desire to sleep until the days are longer and warmer and brighter once again.
Sin carried darkness into the human existence. This world is not the way it is supposed to be. When depravity entered the scene, hopelessness and exhaustion engulfed the human heart. People groaned under the weight of this shadowy blanket, longing for the day a light would come.
The prophet Isaiah prophesied words of hope to people living in darkness.
“Nevertheless, there will be no more gloom for those who were in distress… The people walking in darkness see a bright light; light shines on those who live in a land of deep darkness.” – Isaiah 9:1a, 2
One day, light would break through and the long night would end.
Thousands of years later, another prophecy is spoken. This time, by Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist.
“Because of our God’s tender mercy, the dawn will break upon us from on high, to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.” – Luke 1:78-79
Oh, the hope of these words. Dawn will be breaking soon! Peace is coming to the earth!
But when? And how?
Just a few months later, those questions are answered in the form of Jesus. The eternal Word of God who holds within Him the light of all humankind is birthed in human form.
Jesus’ birth brings a new dawn so powerful that it cannot be contained within the skin of an infant child. The birth of the One who will break through the shadows of death causes the heavens to burst forth with light. When Jesus is born, a chorus of angels fills the sky with the exceptional brightness of their singing and a star fills the cosmos with the perpetual guidance of its glow. Radiance fills the sky and guides visitors to come and worship the Light of the World.
In the Northern Hemisphere, we celebrate Christmas during the darkest days of the year. We are perhaps no more aware of our need for the sun than on the days when it hides for so many of its hours.
As we ache for the sun to stretch its rays, we can remember the longing the earth felt for so many years as it waited for a savior to come. At Christmas we celebrate the dawn of the One who broke through the darkness and changed the world forever.
The light of the world has come.
“Then Jesus spoke out again, ‘I am the light of the world. The one who follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.’” – John 8:12
Wonder: Rediscover the Christmas Story is an Advent series designed to help us pause and reflect on how amazing the stories of Jesus' birth really are. To break through the cluttered busyness of the season and touch our hearts with the awe of what God has done. Let's make this a season of wonder and worship, marveling together at our great God.