A Great Light

“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.
Of the increase of His government and of peace
there will be no end,
on the throne of David and over His kingdom,
to establish it and to uphold it
with justice and with righteousness
from this time forth and forevermore.

Isaiah 9:2, 6-7a ESV

In this time of increasing darkness, where the future seems more and more uncertain with every passing day, this is a promise we can cling to. This is the Hope of Christmas. That two-thousand some years ago, in the measly, little town of Bethlehem, under the shelter of a stable, beneath the light of the greatest star to ever shine in the heavens, God became flesh and dwelt among men. He established His kingdom on earth and drove out the kingdom of sin and darkness that had ruled for far too long, and, one day, He shall return to judge the nations and bring His bride to Himself.

We cannot look back and remember that scene in the Bethlehem—the fulfillment of the promise of the coming Messiah—without also looking forward towards the hope that He will soon come again. All throughout the Old Testament, we see these prophecies of the coming King; they are coupled with descriptions of the suffering Servant who lived a humble life and died on behalf of man. Rarely do they appear in isolation of one another, and, while those events did not occur simultaneously, they are not meant to be remembered separately.

The prophecies pointing to Christ that we read at this time of year and the descriptions of their fulfillment should remind us that God always keeps His promises. He is faithful to fulfill all that He said. He orchestrated amazing events, all of which seemed small, disconnected, and unimportant to bring about the newborn King who would serve as the sacrifice for sin and the object of God’s wrath, only to be triumphally resurrected with the promise of His final return.

There is also amazing beauty, completely worthy of celebration, in the idea of the incarnation. That Almighty God, the Great I Am, the Alpha and the Omega chose to become an infant—a child totally helpless and innocent—so that He could save mankind from itself. The full weight of omnipotence wrapped up in a baby in the most humble circumstances. Christ gave up the entirety of His glory. He emptied Himself. He stepped down from the throne of heaven to live the life of a man who would be despised and rejected by all. He knew what would come of His mission full well, yet He did not hesitate in His obedience to the Father because His love for Him and for us was so deep. It is the most paradoxical moment in all of history, and, simultaneously, more beautiful than words are fit to describe. God became man to be the Savior of the World.

Christmas should be a time of celebration, but it should also be a time of longing. This is not our home. The story does not end in Bethlehem. It ends at the creating of the new heaven and new earth, in the new Jerusalem, with the wedding banquet of the Lamb. (Revelation 19:7, 21:1, 10) So let us rejoice that God brought about the fulfillment of His promises, but let us also live this day with the promise of hope for a better one and rejoice all the more in that fact. He is our guiding Light that will bring us into a new day. God was faithful, God is faithful, God will be faithful. Praise be to our never-changing God!

With the hope of the coming Messiah and a merry Christmas to all,

Jonathon Hastings

“In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”

John 1:4-5 ESV

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