Our new Devotional series:
Hidden Christmas By Timothy Keller
A LIGHT HAS DAWNED
Isaiah 9:2, 5-7:
Verses 2 “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness, a light has dawned.”
Verses 5-7: “Every warrior’s boot used in battle and every garment rolled in blood will be destined for burning, will be fuel for the fire. For unto us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of his government and peace, there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.”
One of the first indications of the Christmas season is LIGHT. The appearance of lights seemingly everywhere – on trees, with candles, above streets; there is radiance all around us.
Lights are not just for decoration, of course, they are symbolic.
In his book, Hidden Christmas, Pastor Timothy Keller says one of the most important spiritual truths at Christmas is this: the world is a dark place, and we will never find our way or see reality unless Jesus IS our light.
Keller writes that the word ‘darkness’ in the Bible refers to evil and ignorance. The world has evil and untold suffering. The world also has no one who can cure the evil and suffering. We look towards the earth and our human resources to try to fix the world. We think we can end darkness with intellect and innovation. That’s the ignorance.
So the message of Christmas is NOT, “we will be able to put together a world of unity and peace.” The message, instead, is a humble one: “Things really are this bad and we can’t heal or save ourselves. Nevertheless, THERE IS HOPE.”
Notice the verse in Isaiah doesn’t say the light comes from the world…it says that upon the world a light has dawned. It has come from the outside, and Jesus has brought that light to save us! Because, as John 8:12 says, He IS that light!
Notice the verse in Isaiah doesn’t say the light comes from the world…it says that upon the world a light has dawned. The light has come from the outside, and Jesus has brought that light to save us! Because, as John 8:12 says, He IS that light!
So how can this divine light “dawn” upon us? Verses 6 and 7 answers with what Timothy Keller calls a stunning directness.
The light has come “for unto us a child is born.” This child is the “wonderful counselor, mighty God, everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
If we embrace this, we understand the significance of its meaning – the creator of the universe is “born to us!” Jesus is fully God and fully human. There’s nothing like this claim in any of the other major religions of the world.
Think about this: it’s almost too limiting to say that we celebrate this at Christmas…yes, we do celebrate, but don’t we also have moments at Christmas where we stare dumbstruck and lose ourselves a bit in wonder, love, and praise?
The implication of God being born into our world, of choosing to become one of us, is overwhelming! Jesus is the divine light of the world, because he brings a new life to replace our spiritual deadness, shows us the truth to heal our spiritual blindness…and is the beautiful light that can help break our addictions to anything from money to power.
Keller writes, “the promises of Christmas cannot be discerned until you first admit that you can’t save yourself or even know yourself without the light of his unmerited grace in your life – it’s a foundational truth!”
We gave away two tickets to the MVNU performance of G. F. Handel’s Messiah on December 8th! Congrats to our friend from Mount Vernon who was caller number three and won those tickets! Click HERE to find out more about MVNUs performance of G. F. Handel’s Messiah.
Thanks for listening to The Afternoon Drive!
-Hannah and Todd