Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas Light

All quotes taken from Douglas Wilson's book, Heaven Misplaced, which I have mentioned before.

From the chapter What the Angels Said:

This vision of historical optimism* is not all that common in the Christian world, and so it can get pretty lonely sometimes. But fortunately, once a year the entire nation appears to come around to our way of thinking. You might be shopping in Target for last minute stocking stuffers and not be at all surprised to hear the loudspeakers reminding you that "He comes to make His blessings flow, far as the curse is found." Think of this book as a small effort to get Christians to believe their Christmas carols year-round.

* historical optimism: the conviction that history will end in glorious victory and not catastrophe.
I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star. (Revelation 22:16)

The sun rises slowly. At first, you don't know that anything has happened. It may be just as dark as it was a moment ago, but maybe not. And some time later, you notice that the eastern sky is not what it was. There is some kind of light there. The stars that were visible all night begin to disappear. Soon there is just one day left--the morning star, the planet Venus, the last indication day is coming. The next event is for the sun to actually rise, for the day to come. Christ was born at night, and His birth was the arrival of the morning star.
Note John's language again. Christ is the root and offspring of David, and He is the morning star. He is the one who was born at night, and His birth was the arrival of the morning star. It is important for us to allow Scriptures to tell us what time it is. If you did not already know, you could not tell the difference between a pre-dawn darkness and a twilight gloaming. Is the sun going down or coming up? The Bible tells us.

In him was life; and the life was the light of men.
And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended(overcame)it not.
There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.
The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.
That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. John 1:4-9

We ought not to think that when men are converted, they each become a little lamp, and if enough of them get converted, they will be able to form a consortium and pool their lamps to try to make a sun. The vision of the coming noontime glory does not depend at all on us trying to get some momentum up. The sun has risen, and it will continue to do what rising suns do. Of course, individual response is important, but it is equally important to note what we are responding to. The sun has risen. Christ has come. He is the king. The light covers the world. A return to heathen midnight is an impossibility. Those who walk in darkness now are doing so in a world suffused with light.

Again, a new commandment I write unto you, which thing is true in him and in you: because the darkness is past, and the true light now shineth.
1 John 2:8

The good news of "sunrise" does not mean that there is no such thing as spiritual darkness, or a final judgment on that darkness. But it does mean that the light overcomes the darkness (John 1:5)...Think again of Herod and the little boys he slaughtered. But think also about how ineffectual it was. Did he stop the morning star from rising? Did he stop the day from coming? In the same way, we must know that the message of Christmas is not that we have to persuade anybody of anything. The message is far more good news declaration than it is argumentation.

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