Incarnation 2021 – Ending Our Winter Solstices

In the beginning the Word already existed.
  The Word was with God,
  and the Word was God.
He existed in the beginning with God.
God created everything through him,
  and nothing was created except through him.
The Word gave life to everything that was created,
  and his life brought light to everyone.
The light shines in the darkness,
  and the darkness can never extinguish it.

God sent a man, John the Baptist, to tell about the light so that everyone might believe because of his testimony. John himself was not the light; he was simply a witness to tell about the light. The one who is the true light, who gives light to everyone, was coming into the world.

Today we celebrate the birth of the promised Messiah of Israel, the sinless Son of God, Messiah Yeshua. The true light, who gives light to everyone, in a dark world that is still in desperate need of His saving light.

A few weeks ago, I was asked why Christmas, the Incarnation, was celebrated today, December 25th. There are many reasons for this date but one I find most compelling is that under the Roman calendar December 25th marked the winter solstice, the shortest day of the year. Throughout scripture we see darkness portrayed as more than just the absence of visible light. From the chaos and emptiness of Genesis 1 through revelations there is a connection between darkness and disorder, sinfulness, and suffering.

Our world today is full of deep darkness. For all our technological advancements people feel more alone and hopeless than ever before. Technology has allowed us to record and share the total depravity of our society. We invent new ways of doing evil. Every day we hear about atrocities both local and across the world. Is it any wonder that so many people feel depressed and miserable? That so many believe things will never get better and that there is no such thing as truth or justice?

These are not new issues, and this darkness has been with us since the fall of our ancestors Adam and Eve. There are many places in God’s Word that speak about the darkness of this world but one passage of Scripture that illustrates this truth beautifully is Isaiah 59:9-11:

So justice is far from us,
and righteousness does not reach us.
We look for light, but all is darkness;
for brightness, but we walk in deep shadows.
10 Like the blind we grope along the wall,
feeling our way like people without eyes.
At midday we stumble as if it were twilight;
among the strong, we are like the dead.

We all growl like bears;
we moan mournfully like doves.
We look for justice, but find none;
for deliverance, but it is far away.

All of us are looking for light in a dark world. Something or someone to guide them through life in this world. Many believe they have found that light in people, careers, or other types of philosophies. But all these things come up short. At best they satisfy us for a moment and at worst they are scams that leave us even more lost than before. Eventually each of these dim lights are extinguished by the darkness of this world.

Yet the perfect Word of God promises us that there is one light that will never be extinguished. The Light of God, Messiah Yeshua, entered this world at just the right time to give His light to us all. Often, He reaches each of us when are at our lowest, when we have reached a spiritual rock bottom, a spiritual winter solstice. It is a common theme in so many powerful testimonies of how the Lord has saved and transformed our lives.

There is a beautiful theological symbolism in celebrating the Son of God, the light of the world, entering a world covered in deep darkness on the darkest day of the year. Or as the early church father Augustine put it during one of his Christmas messages, “Hence it is that He was born on the day which is the shortest in our earthly reckoning and from which subsequent days begin to increase in length. He, therefore, who bent low and lifted us up chose the shortest day, yet the one whence light begins to increase.”

After the winter solstice light begins to grow again, each day is longer than the last. Similarly, with the Incarnation of the Son of God true light in this world began to spread and grow changing everything. This is the turning point of human history and is the point that divides our western calendar.  We divide time before and after His Incarnation.

Sadly, much of our celebration today has nothing to do with the birth of Messiah Yeshua, but instead it is a festival of consumerism. Our obsession with things can bring out the very worst in us and add to the darkness of this world. I am reminded of all the stampeding crowds into stores for gifts and how people die or are seriously injured every year,

We need to celebrate the birth of the Messiah. But the real gift that is being offered to us this day is not found in any store. It is the gift of light described in John 1, the gift of being born again and becoming children of God. Or as the Apostle John continues in the beginning of his Gospel.

He came into the very world he created, but the world didn’t recognize him. He came to his own people, and even they rejected him. But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God. They are reborn—not with a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan, but a birth that comes from God.

So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son.

We cannot leave this world without experiencing the glory of the Son of God. The lord is offering to us all a true light for our lives, a light that will never fade or be extinguished. Today, is a wonderful day to believe in the son of God and be born again. But there is only one way to be born again and have the promise of everlasting life, it is by believing and following Messiah Yeshua, there is no other light that can save us.

When we join ourselves to Messiah Yeshua, the deep darkness that is inside us is pierced by His light. We no longer are lost and are stumbling, but instead know what life in this world is about and our place in it. We begin to experience the unfailing love and faithfulness of the Lord. We have a sure foundation, an unfailing Rock full of justice and righteousness.

This is not just opinion, we have this wonderful promise from our Messiah in John 8:12, a promise for all those who trust in Him. “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

Each of us needs an encounter with the Incarnate Messiah in our lives. We all need to experience the growth of real light in our hearts and an end to the darkness that surrounds and fills us.  If we have already put our trust in the light of the world then we have a real source of joy every day, that endures no matter the season. It is also the command of our wonderful Messiah to share the Good News with a world in desperate need of His light.

It is my prayer this morning that each of us would share in the light of life, that only comes from the light of the world. That each of us would share and shine His light in a world covered in darkness. May each of us see the end to our dark winter solstices and experience the growth of real, lasting, and holy light in our lives.