This post may feel late as Christmas is done and over, but while the holiday has ended the truth of what it represents never will.
As I get older, the Christmas story changes for me each year. It’s the same story it’s always been, so I guess it’s me who keeps changing.
As a kid, I remember gathering around in different living rooms to listen to my dad, grandpa, or uncle read the story to us. It was a magical story about sweet baby Jesus whom the angels sang about and people came to see and bring gifts to.
As a teenager, the story became something each of us would take part in reading and trying to figure out how to pronounce the names in those beginning verses. You’d always hope you didn’t get selected to start the story and butcher it. Everyone would share what they were most thankful for or what they loved about the story, and I’m pretty sure my answer was mostly the same each year.
When I lived in Kenya for my first Christmas spent away from my family, Christmas Day became a birthday party for Jesus where we made birthday cakes for the kiddos at the baby center I was living and working at that was caring for babies/children who’d been abandoned. They’d happily scream the song at the top of their lungs, and we’d give each of them a special gift and shower them with hugs and kisses and love. The Christmas story became a thing that brought me to tears as I thought about the broken world Jesus came down to show another way.
I’ve spent 38 years hearing and eventually reading for myself the Christmas story, and somehow in these last few, it’s like I’m discovering it for the first time.
I’m awed by the messy way in which He came. I’m humbled by the people He chose to spread the word about His birth. I’m moved by the faith His mother walked in and the weight of the promise she carried. I’m heartbroken by the ways people missed Him as He grew. And I question how I miss Him still today in the swirl and chaos of all that’s happening in the world around me.
This year, as I read through the story once again, I was struck most by the light, the glory, and the overwhelming holiness of how heaven and earth collided. The star in the sky lit the way to Him. The angels lit up the sky as they proclaimed the news to nearby shepherds in a field. The lowly and ordinary encountered heaven in the humblest place. Light came down into darkness and ignited something in the hearts of those who received Him. And His light has continued to spread since that day.
While Christmas Day may be gone and past, the story remains the same—living and active for us still.
Light has come and the darkness has not, cannot, and will not overcome it. What a powerful truth I get to carry. What an amazing thing I get to choose to walk in and reflect. Jesus said to those who followed Him years later when He was grown: “You are the light of the world”—His light alive still today in us.
It is our job now to walk in light, to carry it with us into every place and to proclaim that darkness cannot and will not overcome it, because the light we carry is His!
Even as I write this, there is war happening along the border here and beyond it. Some early mornings I can hear the echo of bombs from my house. War has been happening within Burma’s borders for 70+ years, and much of the world has since turned its eyes away, forgetting or completely unaware of the injustices happening. The darkness feels heavy, present, and never-ending.
Afghanistan is being thrown into a different kind of darkness these days as the Taliban takeover is reshaping the entire nation. Women and children are being oppressed and silenced in unimaginable ways. People are starving, losing hope, and living in overwhelming fear. The darkness feels expansive as it proudly shows itself to the watching world.
In nations all across the globe, the darkness grows, pressing in around people in ways that are hard to imagine. And it can be easy to look at all the darkness and feel like it’s extinguishing the light. But, we have this hope…
Speaking to the crowds who followed Him, Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows Me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12).
He came as the light, and His light lives on in each of us who choose to believe in and follow Him. Light has come, and the darkness cannot overcome it for as long as we choose to walk with His light in us. For as long as we choose to turn our eyes toward heaven rather than toward every other voice shouting at us. His light shines as bright in us as we choose to let it shine.
So, friends, let your light shine bright. Let your life continue to reflect the light, the glory, and the holiness of heaven colliding with earth—Christ’s light in you, the hope of glory!
In every time of year, in every season that comes, may your light continue to shine.