The Secret of Christmas

Time moves inexorably forward in an ever-orbiting world. A global pandemic overshadows a festive season of joy, hope, comfort, family, and well-deserved rest. Eager to turn its back upon the hardship and suffering of 2020, the world anxiously rushes toward a New Year. However, if we were to pause and reflect upon our forbidding sense of loss, I wonder what God might have us learn.

All too familiar with the realities of loss, vulnerability, and death, Israel is granted the following promise: “But there will be no gloom for those who were in anguish” (Isaiah 9:1).

As you struggle to live through a global pandemic, how comforting would it be to hear God speak these words over you? In the shadow of defeat and oppression, the prophet Isaiah proclaims: “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness—on them light has shined” (Isaiah 9:2). As it turns out, the “light” of Isaiah 9 is a promise: a promise fulfilled in Bethlehem.

Hidden from Caesar Augustus and Quirinius, a carpenter and his wife place their newborn son into a manger. The secret of Christmas is shrouded in weakness, vulnerability, and humility: “For a child has been born for us, a son given to us; authority rests upon his shoulders; and he is named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6).

The life, justice, hope, and salvation of the world has come. As John the Evangelist makes plain, “the Word became flesh and lived among us…full of grace and truth” (John 1:14).

My prayer for you and your family is this. In this season of uncertainty, may our loving and gracious Lord grant you hope and peace. May you find deep and abiding comfort in the knowledge that God has not remained socially-distant. And may you see a witness in every Christmas light. We no longer live in darkness, for Christ, the life and light of the world, has come (cf. John 1:4-5).

Dr. Mark Husbands is President and Vice Chancellor of TWU. He was born in Cardiff, Wales and has lived in Toronto, O.N., Wheaton, I.L., Holland, M.I. and Orange City, I.A. He now resides in Langley. B.C.