The True Wonder of Christmas
Looking back on 2018 it’s been another hard, dark year – at least in parts. Personally, I’ve worked through unemployment, different family and relational struggles, and griefs over losses. In my role here at OCL as a Sales Representative I’m out and about talking with business owners and other people in the community and I’ve been hearing tales of slow business and a depressed economy, of people really struggling through the drought, of homelessness, and violence and so on. And beyond that, we’re all aware of the myriad difficulties our world faces with critical climate change, political and social unrest, and even between women and men, as women are increasingly feeling empowered to say ‘enough’ to mistreatment by men.
For many of us we don’t need to look far to see that this world can be a dark place. And for all our talk of joy and wonder at Christmas if you shy away from looking at the darkness then you’ll miss the true wonder of Christmas.
I know that for many Australians Christmas no longer holds any religious significance. But for Christians Christmas is a celebration and a reminder that light has come into the darkness as we celebrate the coming into the world of Christ Jesus; God becoming a man, entering into our darkness deeply and personally - so that he might do away with it.
One of Jesus’ best friends, the Apostle John, described Jesus’ coming in exactly these terms. See what he has to say at the start of his biography of Jesus:
In him was life, and that life was the light of men. That light shines in the darkness, and yet the darkness did not overcome it.
John tells us that in the birth of Jesus something has entered the world that pushes back the darkness. In fact, Jesus has victory over Darkness – it can’t overcome Him, His light keeps on shining even today.
In His birth, life, and death Jesus entered into the full human experience, he knows hunger, tiredness and sadness. Yet like no one else He faced the fullest of darkness as he suffered in our place at his crucifixion; a “man of sorrows,” he knows your pain.
But the darkness could not overcome the light, and Jesus was raised from the dead so that he might give life-eternal to people (more about that at Easter…).
Christmas is a great time to investigate this good news. Why don’t you read the Christmas story yourself in Matthew’s gospel? (just google it and you can read it online in clear easy English).
Or come along to one of the churches in Orange and hear this story told. Ask some questions – it might be an enlightening experience.
In fact, you might just find a fulfillment that all the gifts, food and family can’t match.