Lost without Christmas

Samuel Rindlisbacher

In our part of the world, the time comes every year when the days shorten and the nights lengthen. These are the days of earlier dusk and later sunrises; the time in which the fog drifts across the ground, the rain lashes against the windowpanes, the wind plays with the leaves, the driving rains slowly turn into frost and snow, and finally, everything is blanketed in tranquility. For many, these days are also characterized by restlessness and agitation. They struggle through long, arduous shopping trips in huge, crowded shopping centers. It is the time of gifts and tables full of delicious food. There are days of expectation, excitement, and anticipation. But there are unfortunately also days of great loneliness and sadness. It is the time when people yearn for light, warmth, and security like no other time in the year. It’s Christmastime.

The days of Advent are actually a time of joy. We remember the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ: “And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:10-11). He is the One who says of Himself, “I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life” (John 8:12).

We appreciate the light even more when it is dark; fellowship even more in loneliness. Where would we be without the sun’s light? How would we feel outdoors at night without streetlamps? What would the sailor be without the lighthouse? The intersection without a stoplight? We would be lost, disoriented. We’d be in danger of falling and freezing in the cold of night.

So it is without Christmas, without the birth of Jesus Christ, without divine light incarnate. Without our Lord’s coming, it would be lonely on earth; dark and never-ending night. The fog of hopelessness would engulf and devour everything. The dusk of horror would cover everything up, and everything would freeze in the cold of forsakenness. But thanks to Christmas, the night has been defeated, the fog of horror forced to lighten, and the chill of forsakenness has been driven away by God’s presence! “And the light shineth in darkness…” (John 1:5).

This is why we light candles at Christmas. It reminds us of the Light of the World, the hope He brought, the future He gives. “Because the darkness is past, and the true light now shineth” (1 John 2:8b). We read the story of His birth with happy hearts, because God wasn’t indifferent to the world. No, He brought us His greatest gift, His only begotten Son, as the well-known Word of God says: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). That’s why we look forward to fellowshipping with likeminded people. It’s why we sing songs of thanksgiving in His honor.

And so, in the middle of the cold season, our hearts are warm. The view widens upward, skyward, homeward—“Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith” (Heb 12:2). Christmas is only the beginning; the destination is with Him, in glory, “from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ” (Phil 3:20b). And this is a reason to be thankful, to be happy and glad. Yes, “Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the LORD” (John 20:20b).

Midnight Call - 12/2018

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