A dream woke me up early this morning, but until I checked the clock next to my bed I had no way of knowing whether it was day or night. Was it time to get up or to roll over in anticipation of a sequel to my dream?
Darkness can be very disorienting.
Here in the northern hemisphere, December is a month of more darkness than light. According to intellicast.com, the sun rose today at 7:12 am and will set at 4:21 pm granting us roughly nine hours of daylight. Thankfully, cheerful activities and preparations for Christmas poke holes of light in what might otherwise be a dull ceiling of darkness during December.
The lights of Christmas do for December what Jesus did for a dark world. Maybe that’s why God announced his birth with a star. We weren’t there to see it, but I imagine a star so bright that it looked as if it had poked a hole in the dark sky to permit the Light of heaven to reach the earth.
Centuries before Jesus was born, about 735 BC, the prophet Isaiah wrote of a great Light, a child who would be born into a world disoriented by darkness. “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light…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.” Isaiah 9:2, 6
When Isaiah wrote these words, the nation of Judah had been threatened and attacked by an alliance between their northern brother nation, Israel, and the dominant nation of the day, Assyria. People were fearful and distressed. Isaiah said that without God they would find nothing but despair and gloomy darkness. Into that mindset came the promise of a “great light.”
Today we do our best to light the world ourselves, which might give the illusion of brilliance and clear thinking. But in spite of powerful energy sources and billions of blinking lights, people and nations all around the world remain disoriented by fear, confusion, and despair.
Until Jesus pokes a hole in the darkness. Has Jesus illuminated your life lately?
“I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” Jesus in John 8:12
Hey Judy. Thanks for a steady stream of thoughtful and thought provoking posts. Got a question for you and maybe your readers have a comment as well. So as the carol says, we, the people were “in sin and error pining,” ’til He appeared and the soul felt it’s worth”….My question is, do you think that God is mad at those who are in sin and error? As parents, we often respond in anger to the sin and error of our children. Is there a new testament reference that you can think of, that handles the “anger” component of God’s reaction to the sin of those that choose to stay in darkness and to those who have come into the light (volunteer adoptees, by Jesus finished work on the cross), but find themselves sneaking or falling back into the darkness? .
My first thought is of the “wrath of God” that Paul writes is “against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth…” Romans 1:18. But I don’t see that as much as anger toward sinners as an expression of his holy abhorrence of what rebellious people have done to keep themselves and others away from Him. I also think of Jesus as he approached the tomb of his friend Lazarus (John 11:33-36). He wept. He was “deeply moved in spirit.” He was angry at death. This is the picture that comes to mind when I think of God’s view of our sin. It hurts. It hurts us and it hurts him, for he loves us. He knows the world is a dark place and that we struggle to stay in his light. Somewhere, I think in a Psalm, it says something like “he knows we’re made of dust…” We’re helpless without Him, and he knows it. If only we understood that like he does. What do you think?
Even your Romans passage says that that He is against “godlessness and wickedness” OF men who suppress the truth…not the men themselves. If men refuse to come to Him and perpetuate the godlessness and wickedness that He is against, they will surely experience difficulty and finally the wrath of God when time is up. But thanks be to Him, NOBODY has to be under the justified wrath of God. He has offered all mankind a gracious way to peace and relationship with Him. Thanks be to Him for Jesus’ entry into our world, for our adoption through Him when we believe and receive Him, and for His very residence in our hearts through the Holy Spirit! Doesn’t seem like an angry parent, but a loving Father, extending not only His arms, but His whole self to us in perfect love and justice. Thanks for your response Judy.
Judy, I love this statement:
“I imagine a star so bright that it looked as if it had poked a hole in the dark sky to permit the Light of heaven to reach the earth.” Beautiful thought! Thanks for this post.
we must be on the same wavelength… was reading the same scripture as I was bring up a picture of the Star of Bethlehem used in a processing to light up the town in Leavenworth WA each year. It’s very cool… all the lights in the center of town are turned off… the star comes to the square, a public prayer is said, and the lights start coming on from one end of town until the whole town is lit, bathed in light. It’s symbolic and awesome and so Christmas. “Let your light so shine before men…” Jesus pokes new holes in me all year round but it seems at Christmas, I see them better.
That sounds beautiful. You are so right- we seem to be more sensitive to His light this time of year. Shine on…!