There is a Light – A Christmas Message

Christmas is a celebration of the birth of a baby boy over 2000 years ago, but not just a normal baby.

God’s plan for us was so miraculous that even the stars were aligning in the night sky as a sign of his coming. This bright light “the star of Bethlehem” called out to those on earth that a light was coming to shine upon us in our darkness – the light of the world.

Christmas is the greatest miracle of all time – “God with us!”

Christmas is supposed to be “the most wonderful time of the year!”

Instead, the true message of Christmas often gets lost. We have to peel back all of the tinsel and wrapping paper and fruitcake and lines at the mall to get back to the story.

Even still, those involved in that original Christmas didn’t experience Christmas as “the most wonderful time of the year!”

Mary encountered an angel letting her know she would carry God’s Son even though she was a virgin. This was not the best news for Joseph, the one Mary was to one day marry so Joseph planned to quietly divorce her. Even though his heart was broken, he didn’t want to bring shame on her. He assumed the worst until he too was greeted by an angel who exhorted Joseph to take care of Mary and to raise the child as his own for Mary was carrying within her the Messiah.

The Messiah was the One who was promised from long ago, the One who would make a way for humanity to be saved, the One to bring light to the darkness. In fact, His Light burns so true and so bright that all who choose to surrender their lives and become His become a light to the world around us! His Light shining through us!

Even after Joseph and Mary became aware of the miracle to come, they still faced challenges. They had to travel for the Roman census. They had an 80 mile journey which probably took 4 to 6 days to make it from Nazareth to Bethlehem.

Once they arrived in Bethlehem, there was nowhere to stay. All the others who were going to Bethlehem for the census had made it there far faster than Joseph and his very pregnant fiancée – Mary. As a result, Mary gave birth to the Son of God among the animals. His crib was a manger – a feeding trough.

This isn’t how the Son of God should have been born!

But maybe it was.

In God’s Kingdom, everything is different. Jesus would grow up to show us this. He would say things like:

  • “The first will be last and the last will be first.”
  • “You will find your life when you lose your lives.”
  • “I did not come to be served but to serve.”

Jesus came as our servant, our Messiah, our Light to show us the Way.

We all know something is special about this season, this time of year, but there is a tension in us. Instead of being a light to the people around us, we are overwhelmed with all we have to get done or we are consumed by our own selfish desires.

Even though Christmas is supposed to be wonderful, too often now it feels like more of a burden. Do you miss what it used to feel like when you were a child? Don’t you wish you felt the peace and the joy that is supposed to come with this season? What would it take for Christmas to feel like it used to feel?

Consider the promise of the Messiah, the prophecies of Isaiah which were written 700 years before Jesus was born.

Isaiah 9:1-7
Nevertheless, there will be no more gloom for those who were in distress. In the past he humbled the land…, but in the future he will honor Galilee of the nations, by the Way of the Sea, beyond the Jordan— The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.

Notice how this sounds like the words from the beginning of the Scriptures.

Genesis 1:1-4
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.

And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. 

The Creator of the Universe brings light to the darkness.

Maybe you feel trapped in the dark.

Take heart, There is a Light!

Isaiah goes on to say in Isaiah 9:

You have enlarged the nation and increased their joy; they rejoice before you as people rejoice at the harvest, as warriors rejoice when dividing the plunder.

God promises a great nation! Isaiah’s promise of a glorious future is rooted in God’s promise from the past. Before God sent His Son, He chose a man named Abraham. He blessed Abraham and promised that he would become the father of a great nation – a nation blessed to be a blessing. The fulfillment of that blessing is that through this nation – through Abraham – the Messiah would come and bring joy!

Isaiah continues:

For as in the day of Midian’s defeat, you have shattered the yoke that burdens them, the bar across their shoulders, the rod of their oppressor.
Every warrior’s boot used in battle and every garment rolled in blood will be destined for burning, will be fuel for the fire.

Jesus’ Kingdom brings peace! His Kingdom is not advanced by war! His Kingdom advances not by weapons but through faith, love, and hope.

The Messiah would come and offer to take on our burdens by carrying our burdens on His back. In fact, He would grow up and take on Himself our sin – our evil choices – our darkness. As He died on the cross, darkness came over the land, yet on the Third Day – on Sunday morning – Jesus rose from the dead! Darkness could not snuff out The Light!

Isaiah continues:

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever.
The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.

Jesus, the Messiah, the Light of the World was more than a prophet, more than a teacher – He is God in human form.

It’s no wonder the shepherds were blinded by the light of the angel proclaiming that the Messiah had been born!

It’s no wonder that the Magi followed a star to find the promised Messiah!

The light of the angel and the light of the star pointed to the Light of the World!

In the passage after Jesus rescued a woman who was caught in the act of adultery and about to be stoned to death by the religious leaders, Jesus made this promise:

John 8:12
When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

By following Jesus, we step out of the darkness and into the light! No matter how dark things may appear, you and I can have the Light of the World within us!

In fact, Jesus says:

Matthew 5:14-16
“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.  In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

What kind of darkness have you faced this past year?

What kind of darkness have you faced recently?

A darkness from the outside trying to steal your peace or a darkness from the inside trying to steal your joy?

Let the Light shine for you!

Let the Light clear out the darkness around you and clear out the darkness inside of you!

In this moment, I want to PAUSE for a moment of reflection:

  • Will you receive the Light?
  • Will you come back to the Light?
  • Will you be His Light to the world around you?

When we say “yes” to the Light – “yes” to Jesus, we can have a peace and a joy and a love that is stronger than our circumstances!

In fact, this Light can shine through you!

 

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