This year I’ve been reminded constantly of how appropriate it is that we celebrate Christmas in the depths of winter.
First there was Glen Scrivener’s video:
Then there was his beautiful entry “He shines in the dark“.
Then there were the storms. Bad weather reminding us that this world is broken, is groaning (Rom 8:22), is not as it should be.
Then there was the fourth century theologian Athanasius, and his work “On the incarnation“. He tells us why Jesus came as a man:
[N]ow [the Word] entered the world in a new way, stooping to our level in His love and Self-revealing to us… He saw how the surpassing wickedness of men was mounting up against them; He saw also their universal liability to death. All this He saw and, pitying our race, moved with compassion for our limitation, unable to endure that death should have the mastery, rather than that His creatures should perish and the work of His Father for us men come to nought, He took to Himself a body, a human body even as our own… He, the Mighty One, the Maker of all, Himself prepared this body in the virgin as a temple for Himself, and took it for His very own…
Thus, taking a body like our own, because all our bodies were liable to the corruption of death, He surrendered His body to death instead of all, and offered it to the Father. This He did out of sheer love for us, so that in His death all might die, and the law of death thereby be abolished because, having fulfilled in His body that for which it was appointed, it was thereafter voided of its power for men. This He did that He might make them alive through death by the appropriation of His body and by the grace of His resurrection. Thus He would make death to disappear from them as utterly as straw from fire.
The people walking in darkness
have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of the shadow of death
a light has dawned.
Winter is a time of long nights, of dim days, of barren trees and fallen leaves. It’s a time of darkness. And it’s into this world that Jesus enters—not the sunny summers where everything seems right, but into a world marked by sin and darkness. Whether we’re mired in sin, facing the unknown, or feeling distant from God, in the midst of our darkness, Jesus comes as Light.
It’s typical at this time of year to reflect back on the past twelve months and look forward to the next. For me, a lot of things are up in the air. I don’t know what the future holds.
But I do know who holds the future. He’s the one who entered into the darkness in order to bring us through to the light. Where he goes, we will follow. Glory!