by Peter White
The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not understood it.
Now imagine we were there. It’s been 400 years since any prophet cried out, “Thus says the Lord!” It’s been longer than that since a king of David’s family sat on the throne. Has God forgotten us? Did God abandon us? Did God really make a promise in the first place? Was God maybe a little too naive about how dark the darkness was? Or a little too optimistic about what he could do about it? Or was that ever really God? Is it all just a made up story? Because the legions of Rome are oppressive and cruel.
Let. There. Be. Light.
Right there, in the middle of the soul-crushing sadness, of the hope-swallowing darkness, of the existential anxiety. In the awkward, gut-wrenching silence. Hear the defiant battle cry of the Almighty:
Let. There. Be. Light.
And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
It begins on a normal night in the normal Judean countryside some normal shepherds were tending to their normal, if obstinate, sheep. Shepherds again. What’s the deal with God and shepherds? When suddenly the dark night was ripped away with overwhelming light, and the boundaries of heaven and earth without warning vanished, and the extraordinary angelic armies of the Almighty proclaimed:
We interrupt this existence of suffering, restlessness, and death to bring you the news that the all-powerful God of the universe has infiltrated time and space on a solo reconnaissance mission of humankind in the form of a helpless, powerless baby. All of our hopes for a better tomorrow are now born in this manger. This is the season the tide turns. The promise to Eve, to Abraham, to Moses, to David will be fulfilled. The longing of all creation will be satisfied. Death will indeed be broken. The dragon is conquered. Hope is here.
And the shepherds breathed, God With Us. And they rushed to find the baby, and in awestruck wonder, they instinctively knew: He. Is. God.
Spend a moment of quiet on this Christmas Eve night to take yourself back to that moment when the shepherds first heard. Use this song as your background.
Join us at First Methodist Tulsa during the Advent and Christmas seasons.
Peter White is both a Tulsa native and transplant, having moved away for 9 years and returning 6 years ago. He probably spends too much money supporting the downtown food economy. When not eating within the IDL with his wife, he can be found watching Netflix, whining about the Seattle Mariners’ pitiful offense, reading a theology book, keeping his toddlers from stealing each others’ goldfish crackers, or being a minister of First Methodist. He can be followed on Twitter @thatpeterwhite.