It’s seemed to me that this holiday season has been ushered in with much less fanfare than usual. Sure, the decorations have been hung, the presents are wrapped and neatly tucked under the tree, the carols have been sung & the Christmas lights are glowing, but the undercurrent of this season has been different.
So many times in this Advent season I’ve been met with disappointments, let-downs. There’s been health issues and financial hardships and missed opportunities and loss and grief and broken people in broken situations, each trying to illusion themselves into the Christmas spirit.
The world feels weary and worn and dark this year.
That darkness doesn’t feel Christmas-y; with its snowy light and Hallmark movies, Christmas is supposed to feel light and joyful, like a breath of fresh air over a steaming mug of hot cocoa kind of moment. That is not this Christmas. But that does not mean there is not the Christ-child.
Out of all of the imagery for Christ we’re given throughout the Scripture, light is used far and away the most. Isaiah tells us and it’s refrain echoed by Matthew:
“…the people dwelling in darkness have seen a great light,and for those dwelling in the region and shadow of death, on them a light has dawned.” (Matthew 4:16)
The weary world rejoices.
In this weighty season of darkness and weariness, a new light is emerging. Christ – in his both perfectly human and perfectly divine natures – comes to us, wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. The light of life, bringing the thrill of hope, has come to us to redeem and restore all things. In the midst of this weary and worn and dark Advent season, Christ has still come.
“Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”” (John 8:12)
How can we cope in this season of darkness if not for the hope of the Christ-child? How can we survive this hopelessness without the hope of Christ’s dwelling among us? We must fall on our knees in adoration and come to the cradle and bow low.
But it didn’t stop at the cradle. Jesus went to the cross.
We have not only the glimmer of hope of the Christ-child; we have the eternal hope of the Gospel. We are Easter people – we know the end of the story. Born to die. Born to give His life for us – to restore and redeem the weary and broken and dark world into which He came. That is the eternal hope.
So in this season of darkness – in the midst of unimaginable pain and unspeakable heartbreak for many, there is light. We look on the cradle, but we must look in the shadow of the cross.
The weary world must rejoice. Christ has come.