Well, it’s an understatement to say that 2020 has been a year like no other. Who would have guessed that a global pandemic would sweep over and through our daily lives as it has? Not me. It has been challenging, frustrating, tiring and eye-opening. Can I get an Amen?
And then comes Christmas.
Over time, Christmas has become sentimentalized. However, the context of the original story was anything but.
It occurred during a period of harsh Roman oppression. God’s people were awaiting a Messiah, a rescuer. It involved grueling and dangerous travel for a couple with a controversial pregnancy. No room was offered for a young, pregnant mother who ended up giving birth among the animals.
Having been warned of danger by an angel in a dream, the family later fled to Egypt. Since the child was thought to be a threat, a paranoid King Herod ordered the murder of all the baby boys in Bethlehem. Wow—there’s nothing warm and fuzzy about it.
But that’s the world into which God sent his one and only Son. It’s the world he loved—a troubled world, a sin-soaked world, a weary world, and a world in desperate need of light. God is not intimidated by problems; he is the Light who confidently beats back the daunting darkness.
Perhaps you know where I’m headed with this. This continues to be the world God loves. It’s the world into which he sent his one and only Son—a troubled world, a sin-soaked world, a weary world, and a world in desperate need of light. God is not intimidated by problems; he is the Light who confidently beats back the daunting darkness… even now.
In him [Jesus] was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. (John 1:4-5)
This Christmas, as we look back over the past year, and as we also look forward into an uncertain year ahead, be certain of this: God has come into our midst; we are not alone. He is the Light who confidently beats back the daunting darkness in our world generally, and in our lives specifically. I sincerely and fervently pray that you take his Christmas message to heart.
Have a Christmas that is not just merry, but meaningful.
The darkness has not overcome it.
By Matthew Ruttan
—PAUSE. After today, the “Up!” devotional is going on pause for some vacation time. It will return on Monday, January 4, 2021.
–Bible quotes are from the NIV.