The Light of the World

Christmas Eve Homily

Scripture: Isaiah 9:2

Walking into a totally dark room where you have never been before can be very disorienting. It causes you to stop and do two things. The first is to try to allow your eyes to accommodate to the darkness, but what you really want to do is find the light switch and turn on the light.

Isaiah had described that same condition spiritually for the Hebrew nation. He prophesied that “the people who walk in darkness (as their understanding of God is) will see a great light; those who live in a dark land, the light will shine on them.” (Isaiah 9:2)

Since the creation of humankind God had been attempting to reveal God’s self to us. God’s desire had always been that there would be a covenantal relationship between us and God, a relationship that both God and us could agree upon and live out.

Trying to accomplish that, God gave the Commandments through Moses at Mount Sinai. God was saying, “If you live your life in this way, we will have a holy relationship.” Those rules for living revealed something about God, but a set of rules does not reveal who God is. It reveals to us something of God’s character.

It reveals to us something of God’s desire for us. It reveals to us something of how we are to relate to God and to one another. But we are still very much “in the dark” about knowing God. We can’t see God; we can’t touch God; we can’t comprehend holy God.

Generation after generation received promises of a coming greater revelation of God’s self through the coming of a Messiah, who would be the Son of God, but we continued to walk in darkness, trying to let our vision accommodate so that we could see God more clearly. We could “see” so little of God.

And then, there He is, right before our eyes, the promised Messiah, the Son of God, the light of God, sent into the world so that we can actually see God’s beauty, God’s goodness, God’s gentleness, God’s justice, God’s righteousness,

God’s mercy, God’s grace!

An angel chorus breaks through the heavens to announce his birth to the shepherds on the night watch. Birth announcements are always exciting, but there has never been an announcement to compare with this one.

Tonight, we celebrate that all of the promises of God about the revelation of God’s self to us have been fulfilled. Who could resist such an announcement, such an invitation to go and see with our own eyes this thing which has come to pass?

The Son of God incarnate is lying there before us on a bed of new-mown hay, lying in a feeding trough in the corner of a stable. He is Immanuel, God with us.

His name will be Jesus.

Tonight, if we listen closely, we just might hear the chorus sung by the angels of heaven announcing that the Son of God, the Light of the World, has come to dwell among us. He will illumine our understanding of God. He will help us to understand how much we are truly loved by our Creator. He will grow into manhood and walk among us, bringing hope and joy to all who trust in Him.

He will provide forgiveness for us and invite us into God’s grace.

Jesus, the Light of the World, lives and walks among us to illuminate our journey.