Death’s dark shadows put to flight
Sometimes a line in a song you have heard a thousand times just hits different. With origins dating back to 1200 years ago, O Come, O Come, Emmanuel, is a classic Christmas carol that has been sung for centuries.
Three months ago my dad passed away. This is our family’s first Christmas without him. Things will be different this year.
Christmas can be a difficult time for many people. A death in the family, a recent cancer diagnosis, or a broken relationship can all be extra painful this time of year. It can be hard to focus on joy and peace when feelings of pain and chaos are consuming your mind.
It’s not just the personal suffering though. A quick look at the headlines paints a picture of a world in which the brutalities of war, hunger, disease and sin are actively ravaging humanity. Death casts a long dark shadow, and life in that shadow can be overwhelming, even unbearable.
The night before Christmas, the world writhed in the pain and brokenness from the effects of sin. Many looked forward in the hope of a promised One who would save us from our suffering. We desperately needed a Rescuer. God, in his love and mercy, sent His Son, Jesus to do just that.
Until Christ, death ruled unchallenged, but the Baby born in Bethlehem was the divine Key that opened the way back to God and would undo the fallout that sin had unleashed on humanity. In His sacrifice and resurrection, he defeated death and broke the unbreakable curse.
In Christmas, we celebrate victory over death and the long shadow it casts. It may still be painful to lose those we love, but in Christ we know that we have not truly lost them. In Christ, we will see them again, when all things are made new. In Christ, we know that our pain, whether physical or emotional is temporary, and will someday be replaced with ever increasing joy.
In Christ, the scourge of sin on this world has a rapidly approaching expiration date, evil will be defeated, and peace will reign for eternity. Without light, there is no shadow, only darkness.
The candle reveals the shadow, but Christ is no mere candle in the night. He is an eternal explosion of radiance, far greater than an infinite number of suns. Death’s dark shadows will be finally and permanently put to flight by the Light of the World. Hope has come. His name is Jesus. This is the #Gospel.