(Isaiah 9: 1 - 7)
Christmas is arguably the most widely celebrated holiday around the world each year., It is the only Christian Holy Day that is also a secular holiday, generating more attention, more excitement, and more anticipation than any other special day.
During the Christmas season, billions of people set aside their normal routines to decorate their homes, send out greetings cards, buy gifts, go to Christmas parties, attend church services, sing Christmas carols, watch Christmas specials on television, and travel long distance to be with their families and friends. Christmas sights and sounds fill the air everywhere. When Christmas comes, you can't miss it. It's everywhere!
As a Christian, I am happy that we can share the virtues of this day with the entirety of society. The festival of lights, family gatherings, and the season of generosity are enriching practices for everyone, and are congruent with the Christmas celebration.
One of the first indications of the Christmas season is the appearance of lights. Lights on trees, candles in windows, and radiance everywhere. This is appropriate because December 25th follows the darkest time of the year in the Mediterranean world and Europe, where Christmas celebrations took shape, but the the lights are more than decorative, they are symbolic.
Christmas contains many spiritual truths. One of those important truths is that the world is a very dark place. St. Matthew quoting Isaiah 9: 1-2, tells us: "The people living in darkness have seen a great light, and upon those who sat in the region of the shadow of death, a light has dawned" (St. Matthew 4:16).
This language is poetic: Darkness signifies adversity, despair, gloom and evil . Light on the other hand signifies, Prosperity, Peace and Joy. This world is filled with evil and untold sufferings. At the time of Jesus' birth there were violence, injustice, and the abuse of power, homelessness, refugees fleeing oppression, and families ripped apart with grief. Same as today!
Notice that the light is not from this world, but a light has dawned upon this world. It has come from outside: "For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given" (Isaiah 9:6). A child will be born into the family of David, and that there was a birth in Bethlehem is beyond question; but the Messiah will also be a Son given, and that Jesus did not come into existence in Bethlehem is clear from the Bible. There is light outside of this world, and Jesus has brought that light to save us (St. John 8:12) . When Isaiah spoke of the light " dawning" on a dark world, he used the sun as a symbol.
The Sun Gives us light
If the sun went out we would freeze. The sun is the source of all life. In the Bible we are told that it is only in God that we live and move and have our being (Acts 17:28). We exist because He is upholding us and keeping us together every moment. This is true not only of your physical life, but also of your spiritual life. Jesus gives us life!
The Sun Show us the truth
Light reveals the truth of things, how they really are. The Bible tells us God is the source of all truth (1 John 1: 5-6.) The only reason you can know anything is because God made your mind and cognitive faculties. We cannot know God unless He reveals Himself to us, which He does in the Bible. Jesus Gives us truth!
The Sun is beautiful
Light is dazzling and gives joy. That is true reality. We need light for Joy. God is the source of all beauty and joy. God alone has the light, truth, and joy that we lack and cannot generate by ourselves. This divine light has dawned upon us in the birth of Jesus. This baby born in Bethlehem brings this light. In (Isaiah 9: 6 - 7) we see the nature of characteristics that are descriptive of this light:
He is the everlasting Father, which means He is the creator and yet He was born. He is a human being, and He is very God. If the baby born at Christmas is the mighty God, then we can't just celebrate Him, we must serve Him. If He is Wonderful Counsellor and Prince of Peace, you should want to serve Him. When you are going through difficulties, it is good to talk to someone who has walked the path, who knows personally what you have been going through.
Jesus is the divine light of the world, because He brings a new life to replace our spiritual deadness, because He shows us the truth that heals our spiritual blindness. This light becomes ours when we trust Christ's work on our behalf. He forgives and accepts us and gives us the gift of the Holy Spirit to renew us from the inside out. This light that dawned upon us gives new life, truth, and beauty.
This Christmas may this light dawn upon you, giving you Joy, Peace and Hope.
On behalf of my wife, Pauline, The Ministry of the Church of God of Prophecy Eastern Canada we wish you a JOYFUL CHRISTMAS and a WONDERFUL NEW YEAR.
Administrative Bishop Church of God of Prophecy-Eastern Canada