By Rev. Robert Shearer
Christmas Eve • December 24, 2020
Isaiah 9:2-7 • Psalm 96 • Titus 2:11-14 • Luke 2:1-20
In the Name of God: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.
“The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light,” says Isaiah this morning, and he goes on, “those who lived in a land of deep darkness—on them light has shined.”
It seems that an instance of this phenomenon of light shining in the midst of darkness has come upon us during our Covid-19 pandemic. In the middle of the pandemic, with the winter surge killing thousands upon thousands, sequestered in our homes and restricted from much movement, it has been looking pretty dark indeed.
And then comes the news of a vaccine—two or more, in fact—and the possibility of ending the pandemic in six months or so. It is as though a light has been shined upon us. So we lighten-up, get a bit less serious, a little better able to cope with our increasingly complex and worrisome world.
This is the heart of the Christmas message—that when it is darkest, a light can shine. A metaphorical light, of course, which applies to all sorts of conditions of humankind.
In the darkness—in he depths of alcoholism or a failed marriage; the death of a person most loved or a bankrupt business; a burned-down home or betrayal by a friend—into the darkness a light will come.
This is a promise, not just a hope or a “maybe.” It is a solid and unambiguous promise by God and his prophets.
“For a child has been born for us, a son given to us … he is named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace … and there shall be endless peace … The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.”
On this night, a couple of thousand years ago, in a tiny backwater country in the Roman Empire, in a stable with livestock crowding around, an infant child was born.
who was to become the light of the world.