Whether secular or faith-based, the messaging about Christmas always incorporates the idea of light. What we often forget is that in order to have light, we need to have darkness first. Genesis 1:1-5 speaks of darkness into which God speaks light. God then calls light “good.” Alistair McGrath’s new book on Einstein on the dialogue between science and faith describes in clear terms the idea of light (among other things, e.g, Einstein was anything but a relativist!). John’s Prologue (John 1:1-5), heavy with primeval overtones from Genesis 1 confirms, “the light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it.” In the nativity scene in Luke 2:8-12, the shepherds ply their trade “by night” (Luke 2:8-12).
Some of us think of Christmas as a time of darkness. Loved ones are no longer celebrating with us and it’s very difficult to rejoice. What we need to remember is that the light comes out of the chaos and unnerving nature of darkness. The message of Christmas is also that we need to wait. In our age of TED Talk where we think we resolve everything in 20 minute increments (supposedly because we can’t focus for longer than that!), the wisdom of Christmas counters these ideas and takes the long view. God prophesied long ago (Isaiah 9:2) that light would come to enlighten our spiritual darkness (Ephesians 4:18). Sometimes we need to feel the sheer weight of that darkness in order to appreciate the wonder of the deliverance from darkness into the light, as Paul tells us (Colossians 1:9-14). May the Lord deliver us from darkness into His light as we wait for His appearing!