Almost every human civilization has venerated light –especially in this time of the year when the days grow shorter and shorter and the cold sets in. Prehistoric Britons stood those massive stone slabs on their ends, creating Stonehenge, and orienting those slabs to the rising and setting sun. In Central America, Mayan priests developed elaborate calculations to sync their calendars with the sun’s movement across the sky. The ancient ones who lived here in Aztec and Four Corners region found ways to mark the Summer and Winter solstices that survive yet today.
Although no one knows for sure when Jesus was born, the early church began celebrating the True Light of God taking human form and becoming one of us at the darkest time of the year, December 25, so that we could say that each day is a little lighter and hope grows stronger for us each day since Jesus came. Isn’t that true for each of us? Isn’t your life a little bit brighter, your outlook more cheerful and hopeful since Jesus came into your life? God’s answer to our very human need for deliverance from the powers of darkness and despair is Jesus.
So even if you find all of our culture’s ways of celebrating the season exhausting or more than you want to deal with, remind yourself what Christmas is really all about. Sit back and let yourself relax and say, “Ahhh, Jesus has come to bring us all out of our darkness, to forgive us for what we’ve done (and haven’t done!), and to give us the ultimate gift of life everlasting. It’s not only all good, but very, very good!”
May you truly enjoy Christmas this year, even if there is still some problem or darkness going on. Jesus says, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” There is ‘Joy to the world,’ because we welcome and believe that our Savior Jesus has come to us!
Pastor Jeff Symonds