On the first day of Creation, God made the light, and He separated the light from the darkness (Gen. 1:3–4). Mankind fell into sin only a short time later (Gen. 3), and ever since then we have associated darkness with danger, ignorance, lostness, and the powers of evil.
Of the wicked, Asaph wrote, “They do not know, nor do they understand; they walk about in darkness” (Ps. 82:5). Similarly, Solomon opined, “The way of the wicked is like darkness; they do not know what makes them stumble” (Prov. 4:19).
Prophesying about God’s coming judgment on His own disobedient people, Isaiah said, “Then they will look to the earth, and see trouble and darkness, gloom of anguish; and they will be driven into darkness” (Isa. 8:22).
Paul eloquently summed up the spiritual blindness of and demonic influence on our world with the expression “this present darkness” (Eph. 6:12).
Truly we are by nature children of darkness. Born into a state of hostility toward and separation from our Creator. Ignorant of spiritual things. Ruled by our passions. Walking in darkness.
This state of spiritual darkness that characterizes all who do now know Christ also characterizes our world and our history. Darkness ruled from the time of Adam until the time of Christ. And then, when the time was right and the first Christmas arrived, the very light of God blazed forth into the darkness.
It was a moment that God’s people had looked forward to for centuries. “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light,” Isaiah had prophesied. “Those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death, upon them a light has shined” (Isa. 9:2).
Unlike in Christmas cards and paintings, the Christ Child had no halo. His visage did not visibly glow from the divinity within. No sunbeams and no ethereal emanations streamed forth from the manger. Yet concealed beneath the veil of newborn baby flesh was all the light and majesty of God.
The birth of Jesus Christ represents the beginning of our Creator’s decisive victory over the powers of darkness. “In [Jesus],” John writes, “was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” (John 1:4–5, ESV). Like a torch held ablaze on a pitch-black night, Jesus Christ dispels the darkness. He reveals to us the truths of God. He conquers our fears and guides our way along a shadowy, treacherous path. In the light of His glorious appearing, all disappointment, fear, grief, and uncertainty will one day vanish away. That’s what Christmas will ultimately lead to: the reversal of the Fall, the restoration of paradise, and the certainty that Jesus will make “all things new” (Rev. 21:5).
This year, as you sit or stand in the glow of Christmas tree lights, remember the coming of the Light to the people living in darkness in that little town of Bethlehem two millennia ago. Remember that we, too, walked in darkness before the light of God shone upon us. And above all, remember the words of Jesus: “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life” (John 8:12).
Merry Christmas to you from the RBP family!