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The Christmas Difference

The Christmas Difference

“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”

John 1:5

The words above penned by the Apostle John almost 2000 years ago speak to the world in which Christ the Savior came. Under the rule of the harsh Roman Empire, the Jewish nation suffered much at the hands of their rulers. The phenomenal birth of Jesus brought many different characters together, whether they were angels, shepherds, wise men –all came together to worship the newborn king. It wasn’t in a palace adorned with gold and all kinds of opulent trappings. No, the birth of the Christ child occurred in the humble setting of a stable in Bethlehem. Surrounded no doubt by animals and other elements characteristic of an agrarian atmosphere, God invaded earth with the presence of His Son, who came specifically to bring salvation to the world. As He grew and commenced His ministry among the people, many followed him and believed that He was the Messiah. Yet He was rejected by those in leadership who were threatened by His divine presence and power. They plotted to take His life, and in the end, he suffered and died so that those who believed might have eternal life. In the centuries that have followed, the church Jesus founded has had a tremendous influence in bringing Good News to the oppressed, the rejected, the downcast, and all who needed a Savior.

Here we find ourselves all these years later, and our world today doesn’t seem any better than the time when Jesus came to the earth. While we believe that the Light has come, and those who follow the Light share in the message of hope and love that cannot be extinguished by circumstances in our world, we are troubled nevertheless. Violence, war, corruption, and terrorism still come upon unsuspecting innocents and we question where the presence of Christ is in all of this. But, the Bible tells us that God’s Kingdom is not of this world. As well, the earth groans for its redemption, and one day, upon the return of Christ, Christians believe that the culmination of His reign will bring lasting justice and peace to a new heaven and earth. 

Meanwhile, each of us must do our best to make a difference for good in our world. In spite of the changes we see in culture and values, we are comforted by the fact that we are not alone. Our Lord travels with us, and paves the way for us live lives of purpose and meaning in the midst of it all. Let us rejoice this season in the hope that is everlasting. While we may be tempted to be discouraged and downhearted, we look to the Light that has pierced the darkness with promise of a day that will bring everlasting joy to all who follow the same star that led the Wise Men to offer gifts to the child that promised hope for all. May you know all the joys of the season, and live in the light of the Lord Who loves us all. Amen. 

Rev. Dr. Larry Michael – December 2023