This Christmas season was unusual for many of us. We were shocked by the unfathomable evil that occurred in Newtown, Connecticut when a man killed 20 children and their teachers. We wept with the bereaved families and wondered how we could celebrate the joyous occasion of Christ’s birth. One thought that brought me to tears was of the parents putting away presents their little ones would never open.
But by Christmas day, I was able to push away my thoughts about those grieving parents and enjoy watching my grandchildren open their gifts. Was I selfish and uncaring? Probably. But this year, as I grieved with those parents, I’ve come to understand the need for Christmas in a way I never had before. We have to celebrate Christmas because it’s the event that brought the light into the world. It’s the moment when the evil has been overcome.
In Matthew 1:20-21, we are promised that Jesus will save His people from their sins. This salvation isn’t just individual. God knows I need salvation from my many sins. But He sent Jesus to save all His people together. We all need salvation from our sins and the evil that we do because of them. We not only live in a wicked world, we’re part of it. We need salvation from dictators who kill their own people, from crazy men who shoot children in schools, from people who tell girls it’s okay to kill their babies, from . . . the evils that happen all across the world, every day.
These are our sins.
The good news the angels brought to the world is that the Morning Light from heaven – Jesus – was born to give light to those who sit in darkness, the shadow of death. He came to guide us into the path of peace. So we have to celebrate Christmas. It’s the moment of great hope we all need.
Christmas is truly a festival of the light. It’s the advent of the unquenchable light that destroys the darkness, the evil.
Today is the first day of the Christmas season. So, for each of the next 12 days, I plan to post a devotional about the darkness and the Light that overcomes it. We don’t have to celebrate the coming of the Light only on Christmas, but it’s a good time to start – especially if we have recently become more aware of the awful darkness, as we were this year.