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).
The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it (John 1:5).
Christmas is not a holly-jolly time for everyone—neither in the ancient world of the Old Testament, nor in the world of Jesus and the early church, nor in our present day. Sickness, poverty, war, and unmet needs are only a few of the things that seek to be the center of our attention. In addition, for us in the northern hemisphere, this season is accentuated by ever-shortening days and lengthening nights of darkness.
For many, Christmas is a time of sorrow, fear, and loss, as they approach Christmas without the loved ones of christmases-past and struggle to find joy in a world that is overwhelming with the things which threaten to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus. In fact, Blue Christmas services serve to provide God’s love and light while acknowledging the dark circumstances of our human existence.
Yet, it is precisely into that world of darkness that God comes and is born as a baby. It is precisely into that kind of world that God comes to show us that we matter and that we are God’s beloved for whom Jesus, the Light of the world, came to draw us close to himself.
Our Jesus, who loved us so much that he became one of us, walks with us through the darkness so that we are never alone and gives us his Light and Presence and empowers us to be reflections of his love to all in need. He calls us to leave the darkness behind and hold on to his light as our guiding star. Jesus brings light in the darkness, hope instead of despair, love instead of hate, peace instead of conflict and war, and abundant life instead of death.
May the Light of Christ shine for you in this holy season and guide you in your life as the star guided the Magi to the infant Jesus. May Emmanuel—God with us—be with you in the darkness and challenges of life and illumine your life with the assurance that God is with you. May the Prince of Peace fill you with joy and love and the peace that surpasses all understanding.
+Bishop Wilma Kucharek
Hail the heav’n-born Prince of Peace! Hail the Sun of righteousness!
Light and life to all he brings, ris’n with healing in his wings.
Mild he lays his glory by, born that we no more may die,
born to raise each child of earth, born to give us second birth.
Hark! The herald angels sing, “Glory to the new-born king!” (ELW 270, vs. 3)