Did you ever stop and wonder why Jesus was born at night? Why would God send His Son into the world in the middle of the night? It was bad enough that the Son of God had to be born in a small stinky manger in the middle of nowhere. Why make it worse by making it dark? So dark that Joseph and Mary probably had to hold a candle in order to even see their newborn baby!
A few days ago, I read “A Christmas Prayer” by renowned author, Max Lucado, written in response to the tragic events that took place last week in Newtown, CT. In it, he spoke about why Jesus was born in the dark and helped shed some light on the subject (pun intended – HA HA!).
He begins by saying “Dear Jesus, it’s a good thing you were born at night. This world sure seems dark. I have a good eye for silver linings. But they seem dimmer lately…But you were born in the dark right?”
Truly the world was a dark place when Jesus was born. It was dark in the sense that it had been nearly 400 years since God had spoken to His people – 400 years since a prophet had been present to speak the Word of God. That's 4 or 5 generations that hadn’t heard from God or seen His Presence manifested among His children. What's that? Darkness.
It was dark in the sense that the children of God were under oppression from the Romans. No hope of being delivered. No hope of being saved. Darkness.
It was dark in the sense that even the chief priests and leaders of God’s people had become, for the most part, corrupt (see Matthew 23). They taught the people to obey their own laws instead of the laws of God. They took advantage of the poor. They mistreated widows. They slayed the prophets and righteous men of God. Darkness darkness darkness.
But it was in the middle of that darkness that our Savior was born.
As we say in one of my favorite Christmas songs ever:
Oh holy night!The stars are brightly shining,It is the night of our dear Savior’s birth.Long lay the world, in sin and error pining,Till He appeared and the soul felt its worth.A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices,For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn!
[FYI – if you want to hear a fantasticly touching rendition of this song and other Christmas songs sung in a shopping mall flash mob, check out this link. I can’t get enough of this video. I've watched it close to 100 times probably and it still gives me goosebumps every time. Make sure you watch till the end.]
"So thank you Jesus for being born at night. The world is so dark today and there are so many people who can’t see any light. But the darkness didn’t stop You from coming before and I know it won’t stop You now. That’s actually why You said You are coming – to shine light upon those who are in darkness and living in the shadow of death. And for that I thank You. I thank You and our entire race thanks You. We need Your light so badly these days."
I don’t know where you are today or what's going on in your life. I don’t know what darkness might be overtaking you and making you feel hopeless and peace-less and joy-less. But I do know this: Christmas is all about Light.
It’s about how Light has shone in the midst of darkness. And even though that Light was tough to see at first – like I said, even His parents needed some help to see His face – the Light has come and we now have hope. We have hope that no one can take away from us. Why? Because the Light has come down among us.
“The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, and upon those who sat in the region and shadow of death Light has dawned.” (Matthew 4:16)
Merry Christmas in advance everybody. Wishing you all the best and praying that God would truly shine His glorious Light upon your life during this blessed season.