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personal pic of the Lights of Christmas at Warm

We have entered the Christmas season. Whether one celebrates Christmas or not, the signs are evident; the signs are clear; the signs are everywhere. Cut trees of all shapes and sizes and different shades of green are lined up in front of grocery stores and on special lots. In spite of “restrictions”, shortages and unhappy messages from public officials, happy Christmas tunes fill the airwaves while people pack stores shopping for gifts and specialty snacks. Peppermint bark mochas and pumpkin spice lattes are back on the menu at local coffee shops. The most notable sign of this being the Christmas season, however, is the wonder of light. Strings and strings of white lights and colored lights caress houses, brighten store windows, twinkle from garlands of greenery, bedazzle pedestrians and drivers along streets, and sparkle from the branches of trees lighting up the night with the brilliance and splendor of Christmas.

Light overcoming darkness is truly the theme of Christmas, and actually, is the theme of life here since the beginning of creation. Let’s set the stage today, of how the world looked when Jesus entered it first as Creator, then as Savior, and SOON as coming King.

Genesis 1

It says in the very first book of the Bible, in the very first chapter and and very first verse, Genesis 1:1 that in the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth…And the earth was without form and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep….and the Spirit of God hovered over the surface of the waters. The statement of Genesis 1, “The earth was without form and void”, carries more weight than most people think, for those words “without form” and “void” equal something far more dark and sinister than at first comprehended at a cursory glance, or even a second and third reading. It is difficult for us in the English language to grasp the enormity associated with these words, but they represent “chaos, confusion, and disorder,” and has to do with destruction that follows God’s judgment (The Complete Word Study Dictionary of the Old Testament, pgs. 121 #922 bohu and 1214 #8414 tohu). What accompanied this chaos was darkness so dense that it could be felt, and this darkness lay upon a fathomless surging abyss of water. (Strong’s, #8415 tehom and root word #1949 huwm). Genesis 1 presents to us a scene of tumult, judgment and chaos and the darkness that covered all with its barbarous, suffocating tentacles. This is the realm into which God’s Spirit entered, hovered as an eagle over her young (#7363 rachaph), gently moving upon the face of the tumultuous deep.

And then it happened, that which shook the world and shattered the tangible darkness sending tremors into the very void…the Creator enters the scene. Genesis 1:3 states, “then God said, “Let light be!” The breath of God breathed over the universe in that moment and with those words, blew back the cover of thick demonic evil, and shattered the darkness How incredible those words were, and how much more incredible is the God who spoke them, commanding light to shine forth into a chaotic world filled with ruinous confusion, covered with turbulent waters and tangible midnight. But, at His word, He is who is light, and in whose light we see light (Psalm 36:9), overwhelmed and overcame the darkness, and the darkness could not comprehend it.

John 1

In the Gospels we are again confronted with a similar scene of chaos, turbulence and deep darkness. Leader after leader and king after king in both Israel and Judea had done evil in the sight of the Lord plunging the land into the midnight of idolatry and immorality until pagan empire after pagan empire swept through, devastating the land like locusts and dispersing its people like chaff before the wind. Then, for over 100 years, Rome trampled upon the independent spirit of Israel, and the Jewish people groaned under the weight of their oppression and longed to breathe free, to have their kingdom reestablished, to serve their own king, to be independent once more. Just as in Egypt, they cried out to God.

But, this midnight extended beyond the political and national borders of Israel to that of the spiritual, for the darkness of ignorance and blindness and hopelessness covered an astounded world. From nation to nation, sea to sea, nomadic deserts to snow-capped peaks, from the land down under to the land of the midnight sun, sin and depravity held captive the helpless and fear-filled masses via the tentacles of religion and superstition. In Israel it was no different. For there the Pharisees and Sadducees had burdened the people with man-made traditions and the condemnation of strident rules.

In the midst of this oppression one can hear the cries of one particular Christmas song written by an unknown author in 1100 and found and translated by John Mason Neale.

O come, O come, Emmanuel,
and ransom captive Israel,
that mourns in lonely exile here
until the Son of God appear.

The Jews were a harassed people politically, physically, financially, emotionally, and spiritually; they were like sheep without a shepherd, longing for God’s healing and deliverance once more. They thought they only needed a political savior – their long promised Messiah – to dispel their darkness and give them liberty, but unbeknownst to them, just like in Genesis 1, the darkness plunged deeper than the mere surface, and it would take a miracle of God to put it to flight.

Even so, a young girl named Mary waited breathlessly, contemplating her nation’s dire need, and meditated upon the promises of God. No doubt her heart thought back on the stories of old and how God had time and again rescued His people, and blessed the nation on behalf of the patriarchs. She more than likely reflected on the Messianic passages, and wondered when God’s Messiah would come, if he was living already, and when he would arise. Though from the line of David, Mary did not think highly of herself, and saw clearly how far the house of her fathers had crumbled to dust and fallen in every way. Perhaps, her young heart was broken for her people. Perhaps, she felt the stirring of the hope that God was answering the cry of her people’s hearts.

Her espoused Joseph, though busy preparing a place for his new bride-to-be, must also have pondered this grave matter as well. As a man of the tribe of Judah and a direct descendant of both Solomon and David, what weight he must have felt upon his shoulders since there was nothing that he could do to help his people! He was of noble blood, the line anointed by God as king, but no king had sat upon the throne for approximately 400+ years.

O come, Thou Rod of Jesse, free
Thine own from Satan’s tyranny

This was the desperate heart’s cry of the Jews. This was the subject of their prayers. This was the hope of the nation. And deeper still their spirits wept, and the souls of all mankind in unison cried out:

From depths of hell Thy people save,
And give them victory o’er the grave!

O come, Thou Dayspring, come and cheer
Our spirits by Thine advent here
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night
And death’s dark shadows put to flight!

Another translator of this Latin hymn translated this same stanza as follows:

O come, O Bright and Morning Star,
and bring us comfort from afar!
Dispel the shadows of the night
and turn our darkness into light.

One incredible thing to remember is that God’s timing is ALWAYS perfect. Time after time God sent leaders, warriors, judges, prophets and kings to save His people, but these were mere foreshadows of the ultimate One who was to come, who would not only free His people from the darkness of their political and national oppressors, and release them from the shackles of physical ills, but who would save His people from the even greater darkness of their sins and demonic oppression that enslaved them.

Thus, God, with the finesse and precision of an orchestra conductor, and with the stealth of modern Israeli special forces, ushered into this world the most extraordinary being ever to walk the earth in human flesh. The eternal Creator entered His the darkened stage once again, this time clothed in humanity and humility, and again said loud and clear, with all authority and power, “I Am the Light of the world!” And the proud, puffed up darkness could not grasp what had happened, nor could it overcome, nor could it seize by force the Word and the Light of the Living Creator God. For the very “I AM” had entered the world, and it could not silence Him, the very light itself had pierced the darkness. It could not cover Him. It could not hide Him. It could not shake Him. It could not defeat Him! John 1:5 says, “In him was life; and the life was the light of men. 5 And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.”

Isaiah 60:1-3 says, “Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee.2 For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the LORD shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee.3 And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising.” “The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.” (Isaiah 9:2)

The Coming Eternal Light

Even so, that same holy light that pierces the darkness is coming SOON in living color. As it says in Revelation 19, “11Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. 12His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He [e]had a name written that no one knew except Himself. 13He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. 14And the armies in heaven, clothed in [f]fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses. 15Now out of His mouth goes a [g]sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. 16And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written:

KING OF KINGS AND
LORD OF LORDS.”

8And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming.” 2 Thessalonians 2:8.

Conclusion

Thus, this Christmas season, let us remember that as the darkness of our world grows darker, that Jesus is still the Light of the world! He shattered the darkness at the beginning of creation, and pierced it when He came as Savior, and will destroy it once and for all with the brightness of His return. While we await this blessed hope, let us remember that we are children of light. We are not longer children of darkness. Thus, we are to be imitators of God — we are to look like Him, talk like Him, act like Him, sound like Him, think like Him. Depression, anger, fear, doubt, lying, hate, despair, sexual deviance, and the like have no place in us. There is no excuse for these to remain. It is time for them to go. There is no more time to blame our father, our mother, any other relative, friend, teacher, society, or our country for whatever bad behavior we demonstrate. It is time as the Bride of Christ and children of the Light and sons of God, to be conformed to the image of Christ (Romans 8:29), who is the light of the world and in whom is no darkness at all (James 1:17).

This Christmas season as Christ’s return is nearer now than ever before, let us shine out like stars in the universe holding forth the word of truth (Philippians 2:14-16). Jesus is coming soon. Let’s be ready as we cry out with the unknown author of the 1100s,

O Come, Thou Key of David, come

And open wide our heav’nly home

Where all Thy saints with Thee shall dwell—

O come, O come, Emmanuel!

Merry Christmas,

Holy Light Ministries

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