“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.” Isaiah 9:2
I remember the first Christmas that I began to become acutely aware of the darkness of our world. Everything outside bustled on as usual. The neighbors had all decorated their homes beautifully. The radio played all the old Christmas tunes (even that one Paul McCartney song that drives me a bit crazy). All the usual sights and smells were there, but this year was different.
This year, I would walk into that oh-so-familiar room—same smell, same sound, same tree in the same spot—and I would feel the pang of loss. There would be one seat left painfully empty.
A few miles down the road a friend was dealing with her own emptiness—a little baby boy would not be playing beneath her tree. She would not be meeting him until heaven.
I began to think of families that had fallen apart that year, and children who were left in the wreckage, of people within our church who were facing life altering diseases, and a government that was becoming ever more corrupt. Death…disease…brokenness…evil. How could I enjoy celebration?!
Sitting in those quiet moments, lost in my thoughts, I was reminded of the why behind the celebration of Christmas. All of the brokenness, the pain, the disease, the fear…can only make Christmas mean even more. That was the reason why Jesus came. Sin—our sin—had ruined everything—mankind had marred God’s perfect world, and everything was broken—we were broken—because of sin.
But then came the night the Light of the World shone into our darkness. The Prince of Peace came to conquer our fears. The Creator of Life came in order to die, so that death here on earth could never be the end of us. He came to fix what we had broken.
Even sounds like a fairy tale, doesn’t it? But the best part is, this story is true. And because it is, no matter what our circumstances, we have reason to celebrate.
“This Baby would be like that bright star shining in the sky that night. A Light to light up the whole world. Chasing away darkness. Helping people to see. And the darker the night got, the brighter the Star would shine.” --Sally Lloyd Jones, The Jesus Storybook Bible