Darkness:  the absence of light.

I think we can all agree that there is a lot of darkness surrounding us – just watch the news for a few minutes.  War, terrorism, natural disasters – darkness.

We have darkness right here at home too – broken relationships, illness, financial struggles.  I often write of Katie’s struggles – that’s pretty dark.  The women we see at work, the journeys we hear – so much darkness.  This Christmas, dear friends are celebrating around a hospital bed as their wife and mother is dying of lung cancer.  Darkness.

But wait.

“The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.”

That’s us!  We’re the people living in the land of darkness.  These words, written thousands of years ago, are still so true for us.

What is the antidote to darkness?  Light.  One tiny little light will dispel darkness, making things visible.  Isn’t it true that problems seem worse in the middle of the night, in the dark?  Those same problems just seem more manageable in the light of the day.

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders.”

And in that moment, over 2,000 years ago, light came into the world in the form of a little baby.  Everyone knows the story, whether they believe that it’s true or not.

It’s a lovely story, isn’t it?  The poor peasant couple, traveling for days only to find nowhere to stay.  Having to give birth in the innkeeper’s barn, using whatever was on hand.  Angels in the sky, singing glorious words to the shepherds.  Wise men seeing an amazing star, coming from far away lands.

A lovely story is all it would be, if that’s where it stayed.  But that baby grew up, walked on this earth, and then walked the hill to Calvary where He died a cruel death for all of mankind.  He died, taking on the punishment for all of our sin, giving us the ultimate gift – salvation.

Who was this baby?

“And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

Those words just fill my heart.  The depth and the meaning – it’s so rich.

Wonderful Counselor – we go to a counselor when we need to talk through some things, get some advice.  When we’re struggling, we seek out a counselor for ways to cope.

Jesus is the ultimate counselor – He knows all of the answers, and He’s there, waiting to share them with us.  We just need to ask.  We spend so much time and effort trying to solve our problems and fix ourselves – but we have access to  One who has the answers.

Mighty God – that little babe in the manger is Almighty God.  Fully man, yet fully God.  The creator of the Universe, ruler of everything.  And He lowered Himself to be a man, so that we could have a sympathetic Savior.

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin.  (Hebrews 4:15)

Everlasting Father – Just take that in for a moment and savor it.

Everlasting Father.  A Father who loves His children with a perfect love, an everlasting love.  A Father who will always be there – He will never fail, He will never change.

We’re not going to always understand His ways – we can’t.  So many times we question – “Why, God?”  But that’s where faith and trust come in.  Trusting in the knowledge that He is our good Father, and He is in complete control.

Prince of Peace – isn’t that what we long for, peace?  To live without strife?  That is what He offers – peace in Him.

So this Christmas, as we view that babe in the manger, take a moment to stop and revel in the glorious majesty.  Accept this amazing gift that has been given.

And if He hasn’t already, let this babe in the manger change your life.  Let Him into your heart to be the ruler of your life – He came for you.