Dear Children of God,
Merry Christmas! One of my most enduring Christmas memories is from a photo I took of my daughter on her first Christmas. Her face is illuminated in the darkness by a Christmas tree light. She’s peacefully mesmerized by the lights on the tree. I think she gets that from me in part because, when I get a chance to slow down, sit on the sofa, and stare at the tree; I too am mesmerized by the lights glowing warmly in the darkness.
This Christmas Eve, we’ll be reading from the book of Isaiah who tells us about another light that has shone in the darkness and on the people living in deep darkness (Isaiah 9:2). Light in the darkness is one of the key images of Christmas. We celebrate Christ’s birth just a few days after the year’s shortest day. How appropriate–because Jesus is “the light of the world” (John 8:12)! Darkness, the absence of light, is ultimate nothingness–no light, no life, no matter, nothing. That’s why sin is characterized by darkness. When sin enters, it takes away the light … it takes away the life … it takes away everything until there is nothing left. Which is death, eternal separation from God, the giver of life.
But, in the midst of this darkness … the true darkness which sin brings into the world … Jesus comes. He is introduced by sudden lights–the glory of the Lord–appearing to some shepherds watching their sheep in the darkness of Judea. Angels announce to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who Christ the Lord!?” (Luke 2:11-12) Jesus is the light for all mankind. A light that removes the darkness of sin for all who believe in Him. A light that illuminates the way to eternal life for all who believe in Him–eternal life in eternal light, no more darkness forever.
In God’s Love,