We just passed the darkest day of the year. The difference now is negligible. We’re looking forward to a few more minutes of daylight coming soon, but summer is still 6 long months away, half of them cold. The sky is often dark from clouds and the landscape looks depressing if there’s no snow. Christmas lights and decorations inside and out are necessary to drive away the sadness that naturally creeps into our lives even without much effort.
That is exactly why our Lord was born at this time. The Church did not place Christmas on this night because of some pagan festival, as many claim today. The ancients believed a prophet died the day He was conceived, and they believed He was conceived and died on March 25. Exactly 9 months after that day is December 25.
He came to shine His light. He came to cast away darkness and melt the snow and ice, to bring to life eternal spring, to destroy all the effects of sin in our lives. When He created all things, it was all originally dark and formless and void. He then brought light into the world and order into chaos. He is born to do the same.
The way the world outside looks and feels this time of year is a perfect reflection of your sin-sick soul. It is dark – it cannot find the way to heaven and doesn’t want to. It is cold – it has no desire for God. It is dead – it is unable to do anything good in His sight. Sin is in control and causes us to serve not God but the wicked prince of this world, the devil, and all his works and ways.
Into that sort of world Christ came down from heaven. “When all was still and it was midnight [the] almighty Word descended from the royal throne.” The Son of God had come down from heaven and tented in The Virgin’s womb. On this night He was born for us men and for our salvation. On this night The Savior, Christ The Lord, was born.
Light shined forth. The glory of The Lord surrounded the holy angels as they sang to God Most High in the presence of the shepherds. But light shined forth from the manger, and that light shines still. This light shines not from trees and candles, but from God’s Word. For the Psalm says, “Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.”
What does this have to do with the light of Christmas? Scripture alone brings you that light! God’s Word tells you why Jesus was born. He was born to die. The wood of our Christmas trees point ahead to His Cross. That’s why some people and churches turn their Christmas trees into Lenten crosses. Jesus was not born to be a cute cuddly little Baby. He was born this night to die for you. He was born this night to save you from your sins and from eternal death. He was born this night to rule all things by doing away with sin and death in His Body on The Cross, and then to rise again to be with you forever. He was born so that you could be born into eternal life and live in joyful eternal spring forever. (TLH 92:3 follows):
Now thro’ His Son doth shine The Father’s grace divine. Death o’er us had reign-ed Thro’ sin and vanity; He for us obtain-ed Eternal joy on high. May we praise Him there! May we praise Him there!