Devotional: LIGHT & LIFE
Christ the Savior is born. Bethlehem of Judea has beheld the One born full of grace and truth. How great our joy! There’s excitement all around and within us.
Through Advent we prepared for his arrival. We made ready our hearts to worship the King. We took care not to miss his coming. With the shepherds, we heard the wondrous herald angels singing praises, giving glory to God in the highest, and in our hearts, we ran into Bethlehem with them to gaze in amazement upon the newborn King. We couldn’t dare pass up the opportunity to be in the presence of Almighty God. In the waiting of Advent we quieted our hearts and our souls… and we waited in expectation for His coming.
As we anticipated the moment of Christ’s coming, in our hearts we stood with the prophets, those faithful men of old who also waited long in expectation for the coming of Messiah. Theirs was a deep longing as they desperately cried out to God, "How long, Lord?" Messiah had been promised and so they waited...and waited...and waited some more. They waited in the midst of turmoil, unrest and tragedy.
As Christians living in the 21st Century, we can understand their longing. We too are waiting. And we also wait in the midst of turmoil (economy; race relations; politics), unrest (Egypt; Israel; Syria) and tragedy (refugees dying as they flee their homes; hurricanes destroying personal property). This time, we wait not for Messiah, for he has already come; instead we wait for Christ the King to return in all his glory to redeem the entire world in a re-creation of a new heaven and a new earth. This has been promised to us by Jesus himself. And so we wait in expectation and we ask, "How long, Lord?"
Yes, Christmas has come. Yes, the Incarnate Word is born of Mary. Yes, we rejoice greatly at the wonder of God’s plan. And yet… the tension is still great in our hearts. When will the Prince of Peace come to bring final and perfect shalom on the Earth? The news reports are no less full of turmoil and pain today, after our celebration of that Holy Night in Bethlehem, than they were in the days before. During these dark times how can we even begin to celebrate the Christmas themes of hope, peace, joy, or love; let alone experience them? With so much darkness in our world, it may seem difficult to find these. And yet, it is within the darkness that God, very Light himself, has entered in. We find hope, peace, joy, and love in the fact that Christ has come and Christ will come again.
Darkness cannot conquer Light. One glimmer of light and darkness flees. So it is with Christ, the Light of the world. He dispels the darkness that seems to have a grip on us and reminds us that He is “the light of the world,” and whoever follows Him “will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12).
And so, this Christmas time, can we turn our souls toward Almighty God in the certainty of the ultimate peace, joy, and love our Savior Jesus brings? Yes, the turmoil of each day still wrenches our hearts, and we cannot stop crying out, How long, O Lord? But with the eyes of faith, look to Christ. Look not only to Bethlehem, but to Calvary—and most of all, to the empty tomb, where the Lord of Life has decisively triumphed over the grave. And cry out with the faithful across the ages, “Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus, come.