The Light of Christmas
December 25th was once a pagan holiday marking the first date when people noticed that daylight was increasing after the Winter solstice. Since it was basically a celebration of light, Christians commandeered that date in 336 AD to celebrate the birth of Christ which fulfilled the prophesy of Isaiah when he said, “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwell in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone”. - Isaiah 9:2
Jesus is the light of Christmas. He is the One who brought light into the darkness, created order out of chaos, and still brings the light of life to a dying world. The same Jesus who created physical light IS “the light that shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it”. - John 1:5
“And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear”. – Luke 2:8,9
Notice first how an angel of the Lord appeared to shepherds in a field and not to government leaders or church officials. To use an example from current events, these shepherds represented the unkempt, blue-collar “duck hunters” of their day surrounded on all sides by chaos, darkness, evil, and gloom. Not until the light of knowledge came to invade the darkness of their ignorance, could they truly see and hear the truth.
And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. – Luke 2:10,11
Did you know that the most frequent command in the Bible is “fear not”? Imagine being surrounded by darkness and then seeing the glory of God shining around you while an angel tells you good news of great joy. I don’t know about you, but I’d be trembling in fear and excitement.
The angel uses the term, “good news” or “eu-angelion” in the Greek meaning “gospel”. This is indeed good news because Christmas marks the most significant event in the history of mankind. It is not just a story. Christmas celebrates an actual immutable historical event when Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God and creator of the universe entered our world and became a man. This same Jesus lived a perfect life under the law, died on a cross, was buried and rose again according to the scriptures in order to reconcile sinners to a righteous God for all eternity. This is the gospel, plain and simple.
Later in verse 14, we find a heavenly host of angels praising God saying, “Glory to God in the highest, And peace among men with whom He is pleased”. Peace among men? How can that be? As we have seen in the news recently, shepherds, duck hunters, and outspoken Christians don’t always have peace among men. They do, however, have peace with God. This kind of peace does not mean a lack of conflict or “your best life now” but is a spiritual peace that comes from our reconciliation with a righteous God through faith in Jesus Christ. In fact, if we are indeed abiding in Christ, we are integrated or “whole” and have a peace and communion and friendship with God that goes beyond human comprehension.
So let’s reflect the light of Christ and show the love of God to others this Christmas season. Let’s also be ready to give an answer to anyone who asks, not just the reason for the season but also the reason for the hope that lies within us. And let’s do so with gentleness and respect.
Merry Christmas and God Bless!
A short summary of the gospel can be found here.