If I am being honest, I have been dreading the holidays this year. After a year full of grief, it just feels different. But a few days ago, I had a realization: that light amidst darkness is exactly what Christmas is about.
In fact, we celebrate Christmas today not because Jesus was born on December 25—it is believed that it occurred in June. We celebrate Christmas today because of the winter solstice. In the regions where Jesus was born, this is the time of the year that is the most dark. And amidst the darkness, everyone needed a reminder of light.
Before Jesus even came to be, Isaiah's prophecy described this light He would bring:
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
Amidst years that are heavy and seasons that are busy, we need light. As we grieve those who aren't spending Christmas morning with us, we need light. As we experience unmet expectations and the brokenness of this fallen world, we need light.
And light has come.
Light has come for the darkest places in this world: northwestern Nevada, the Roque de los Muchachos Observatory in the Canary Islands, and northeastern France. Light has come for those spending Christmas morning all by themselves. Light has come for those carrying heavy burdens this morning. Light has come for the widows, the empty nesters, the ones craving families, and the ones missing their children. Light has come for the one on call today, the one working the cash register today, the one who's down with the flu today.
For the darkest places within us and the darkest places on earth, light has come. The greatest gift has come. Jesus has come.
This is not just something to sing about on Christmas Eve or inscribe our Christmas cards with. It's a promise: of better days and years ahead, of redemption, and of Christ coming again to make all things new.
Today, as we pass around gifts, may we not miss the greatest gift we could ever receive: a thrill of hope that only our coming King could bring. Merry Christmas!