“The people dwelling in darkness have seen a great light…”
You know, back in December, I really didn’t mind the cold and the snow all that much. The Christmas lights at night made the snow look magical. The love and joy of the season warmed our hearts, and so the wind didn’t bother us as much. While everyone was hectic, crazy busy, it’s all okay because everyone’s also trying to make sure their getting together with their family, friends, and all the one’s they love. Just thinking about it now and suddenly I hear Karen Carpenter singing again, which makes me smile. Christmas made December not just tolerable, but something to love and long for.
What’s January got? Nothing. Absolutely nothing.
Face it, it’s just cold, wet, and windy. There’s no romance or sentimentality to it – it’s just one big angry polar vortex after another, freezing your nose hairs the instant you step outside. We’re still busy, but now it just an annoyance to have to go out for one more thing. There’s still snow on the ground, but all that means is more shoveling, slipping and sliding, and pretty soon it will turn to a brownish muck as it slowly melts away. There’s no soundtrack to make this month and all its brutal frigidness any better. Don’t even try. Go home, January, I think we’ve overstayed your welcome.
Am I the only one who feels this way? Does Christmas really make that much of a difference in the way we handle things? Well, maybe it does.
Think about it: Christmas, with all of its tinsel and trappings, is the celebration of the incarnate Word of God, Jesus the Christ, Emmanuel, God with us. At Christmas we are reminded that those who have dwelt in darkness, upon them a light has shined. At Christmas we take the time to focus on the joy that made the angels sing, the grace that came to seek and to save the lost, the love that moved even the stars in the heavens to announce his coming.
But what happened at Christmas doesn’t stay at Christmas. Christ’s coming changes everything. We know now that sin has been defeated and by faith in Christ we are made new. We know now that there is grace and forgiveness – with God and for one another – so that we may be one body in Christ. We know now that there is good news to proclaim which will warm the hearts of all who hear.
Jesus changes everything. He takes our burdens, our guilt, our sins, and gives us His yoke to carry and rest for our souls, for His yoke is easy and His burden is light (Matt. 11:30). He takes our sorrows and our griefs, and in exchange gives us the joy of a new day (Psalm 30:5). He takes the obstacles and trials that cause us to tremble and says “Take heart; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).
I would not want to begin to imagine what life would be like without the knowledge of the love of God in our Lord Jesus Christ. It would be worse than a December without Christmas, even worse than January.
Stay warm. Stay faithful.
Sola Deo Gloria!