The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; a light has dawned on those living in the land of darkness. (Isaiah 9:2 CSB)
The Bible honestly and frankly describes our world as a place of darkness. A place full of evil and suffering— violence, poverty, injustice, sickness, and unimaginable pain.
Throughout our lives we experience this darkness in various ways.
- When we disappoint someone, embarrass ourselves, or hurt people close to us… when we keep secrets and hide shameful parts of ourselves… we make darkness our home.
- When someone hurts us, embarrasses us, or violates us… our world gets darker because of the shame we feel.
- When we’re depressed, lonely, or afraid, the darkness can be overwhelming.
- When we see the sufferings and atrocities in our cities and around the world, our hearts break and the scope of the darkness grows.
The darkness is real and growing, and nobody knows exactly how to fix it.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer, in his Christmas book, God is in the Manger, writes— “A prison cell, in which one waits, hopes – and is completely dependent on the fact that the door of freedom must be opened from the outside, is not a bad picture of Christmas.”
As Bonhoeffer sat in his prison cell in Nazi Germany, hoping, praying for someone to come and rescue him, he realized that just like being in prison, the only hope for the human condition is that someone from the outside would come to help. The door of freedom, the light we need, must come from outside the darkness.
And that’s why we celebrate Christmas—because while we are trapped in a prison of darkness, a Light has come to set us free.
Don’t quit just yet. Don’t lose hope just yet. A light has dawned. His name is Jesus.