In the dreary and solid darkness of an abandoned mine, deep in a far off mountain range, a weary group of friends huddled, struggling to find their way. Despite the fact that they were only in the beginning stages of their long and dangerous quest, the road had already proved to be a more arduous task than they had known. Their hopes have already grown thin and they could think of little else besides finding a way out of this pressing darkness.
Suddenly, a warm and bring light flickered and lit the deathly cave, filling it with a small, yet hopeful brightness. It came from the long staff of the leader of the group – a tall and stout figure with a tall pointed hat. The surrounding darkness seemed to shrink back, and the spirits of the travelers lifted. Although their present dilemma had not yet been solved, this bright light filled them with the hope of victory. It pointed to the coming light, where the evil that they faced would be at last defeated. And it gave them the strength to face the next stage of their dark journey.
What does this story have to do with the Christmas season? Quite a bit actually. Every year when the holiday season rolls around, much hype revolves around the question of its significance. What is the significance of the fact that God came into the world if he had not yet accomplished anything? The birth of Christ is not the whole of the Bible. So why is it so significant?
Speaking 700 years before the birth of Christ, Isaiah puts it best –
“The people who walked in darkness
have seen a great light;
those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness,
on them has light shone.
For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon his shoulder,
and his name shall be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”¹
In a world of darkness and suffering, the coming of Christ is the sudden appearance of the light of hope. Although this is not the final victory in and of itself, it foreshadows the things that are to come. Finally, the one has come who will conquer the darkness and open the door to knowing God. He is the one who will take the whole burden of our selfishness and separation from our Creator on himself and will pay the price on our behalf.
In the presence of his coming the darkness shrinks back. This is the message that Isaiah delivered to Israel at one of the weakest and most hopeless moments of their history, and it is the message that he delivers to every person who seeks a way out of the darkness of this world.
The power of his coming shines as a light to the lost and hopeless, as well as strengthening those who already know him. Are we aware of the power of the Savior who is alive in us? Are we witnessing this power at work in our hearts and lives? Lets make this our aim and joy this Christmas season. After all, without this central and unstoppable light, all the flickering lights that surround are empty of meaning and power. He is the one who provides the cure to our sickly hearts, and in his presence no darkness can stand. He alone is worthy of our utmost affection, dedication and praise.
- Isaiah 9:6