Through the darkness there is light: The Christmas Story

December 24, 2019

Merry Christmas from our families to yours!

Through the darkness there is light: The Christmas Story

By Pastor Todd Bush, Mason County Reformed Church.

A couple thousand years ago, the prophet Isaiah proclaimed that “the people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death, a light has dawned.”  Isaiah was speaking to the Jewish people of the day and was referring to a future arrival of a Messiah who would finally provide deliverance for God’s people.  Just over a half millennium later, the gospel writer Matthew quotes this same prophecy connecting it to the birth of the Christ child that we celebrate each Christmas season.  However, what is this darkness is that they refer to?

To a scientist, darkness is simply what’s left in the absence of light.  Webster adds to this empirical definition the human emotional, psychological and physical experience.  For Webster, darkness can be an experience of gloom or helplessness. It can also be a state or experience that is sullen or threatening – a sense that your well-being is being challenged or taken from you.  It can also carry with it a sense of the absence of knowledge or enlightenment – a sense of not grasping or understanding the what and the why of your experience. And finally, it can refer to the dark state of wickedness that defines and plays out in a person of evil intent.

When the prophet Isaiah and the gospel writer Matthew uses this word, it seems to carry with it a sense of all of these.  It is not only a life blocked from the “light” that finds its origin in a loving God, but it’s also the human experience resulting from such alienation.  To the Jews it referred to the human condition when those in power didn’t have their best interests in mind. It referred to the experience of not only being devalued and persecuted but also to the experience of being void of any position and voice to initiate a change for the better.  It referenced a “dark” experience of misery, helplessness and hopelessness.

As a result, Christmas is about acknowledging that such darkness exists in our experience.  A darkness we experience when we encounter the verbal assault in our politics and our social media connections.  We feel it in the loneliness of our marriages, the loss of those we valued, the slander within our communities, the alienation in our families and the neglect from our support networks.  We’re crushed by it in our struggle with illness, in the abuse from those we thought we could trust, and through the consequences we experience daily from past decisions and behavior. It’s a darkness that is real, crushing and hopeless.

Fortunately, Christmas is ultimately about the “light” that has dawned.  It’s about a hope that is offered in the midst of our current helplessness.  It’s about a promise of healing and wholeness within our brokenness. It’s a gift of value and purpose to combat our experiences of betrayal and abandonment.  It’s an offer of love and acceptance that is independent of our past and even our present situation. It’s a life reset offered through the saving work of Jesus Christ.  This is the “light” that is offered to all of us. This is the hope that we celebrate each Christmas. No wonder these words were received with so much joy and anticipation that first Christmas.  From each of us at Mason County Reformed Church, we wish each of you this joy and anticipation during the Christmas season. May you be filled with the light, healing, restoration and value found only through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

Mason County Reformed Church is located at 45 S. Amber Road, at the intersection of US 10/31 and Amber Road in Amber Township. Christmas Eve. services are at 5:30 p.m. tonight. Regular Sunday services are at 9 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. 

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