“Nevertheless the dimness shall not be such as was in her vexation, when at the first he lightly afflicted the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, and afterward did more grievously afflict her by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, in Galilee of the nations. The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.” (Isaiah 9:1-2)
Indeed, the light is shining again in this dark world: the resurgence of the truth, of the Gospel in a time which has seen Judeo-Christian culture and values attacked in unprecedented, disturbing fashion.
The sad litany of anti-Western hate should make anyone livid:
Christians have been massacred, targeted for genocide in the Middle East.
Israel is still treated as a pariah, even among Western nations, specifically the United States’ own President, who worked the background of international figureheads, and delivered a final stab in the back to the Jewish State. The United Nations Security Council glibly issued a resolution condemning Israel for the Jewish settlements in the West Bank. Barack Obama, your name is shame and infamy, and We the People cannot wait to see you ushered out of the White House and into the dust bin of history.
The goodness of the Christian faith, one which affirms the vitality and potential of every human life, which explains the immense richness yet unparalleled roughness of a fallen world, is not falling away. It still amazes me every year to read of hostile Muslims who become Christians, who recognize Jesus as more than a historic figure or a great teacher, but a Savior who came to deliver dead men in a dying world to have life and that more abundantly (John 10: 10)
And is that not the central theme which stands out in the Christmas season? Life standing out, light breaking forth in a dark world, and the certainty of a good, holy, blessed end in spite of our early failings and our current challenges.
Joseph and Mary found themselves at the apex of every prophesy and promise, and even they may not have understood the magnanimous opportunity brought to the world—through them! Judea, the wild and rebellious province of Ancient Rome, was defined by the worst of times, not the best. The tyrannical Romans had conquered the world. Abuse, fraud, and despotism were the norm. Rapacious taxation ruled the day. For the Jewish people, the humiliation of Gentile rule was particularly damaging.
Then came the Savior, the Messiah long foretold (see the verse from Isaiah above). He shined from the moment He arrived. He came to save man from his sin, to grant all of us Eternal life to reign without fear. The nobility that every one of us can receive, the promise of everlasting righteousness (Daniel 9:24) can true on that Christmas night. The reminder that everyone of us was created to live as kings, to have a royalty which no other creature can claim—that message broke through the darkness in the little town of Bethlehem.
Even though Jesus was born king, he was born in poverty. Yet His glory could not be hidden from those who sought him—and such defines all wise men: those who seek Him, Jesus, the Savior of the World.
There has been great darkness in the world. For eight years—and even longer for some—terrorism, moral relativism have had the upper hand. Despite the death of one terrorist, five would emerge more rabid than the previous set.
Then the popular revolt of men and women, the fighting force that would defend Western Civilization, a creed based on “Love thy neighbor” instead of “Submit or die!” emerged. Brexit, the election of Donald Trump, the failures of the statist Italian referendum, all signal the death knell of a petty secularism which man’s spirit cannot abide. Their war on Christmas has ended, too.
Israel proves to the world that the the tale of the Persecuted Jew is just that—a tale. Jews will not be bullied any longer.
Such is the heartbeat of the West, and at its core the Gospel, which announces to all men that “through this man [Jesus], you are justified from all things which you could not be justified through the law of Moses.” (Acts 13: 38-39)
It’s time for the secularists, the statists, and the globalists to give up. Their attempted revival of the Roman Empire has hit a roadblock. Their time is not now.
It’s time for the hostile Arab states and the Islamic terrorist networks to accept what they can never change. Israel will forever be the land for the Jewish people, one corner of the world, a nation whose size is often compared to New Jersey. No matter the hostility, they are not leaving.
The tyrannical migrants who want to overrun Europe, who threaten the United States, who want to remove recognition of Christ and Christmas, will confront a new life, a new light shining, and their darkness can diminish it. Christ and Him Crucified will not disappear, and His life—then and now—resonates with redemption for all who will believe.
This weekend, I watched the Christmas messages of Queen Elizabeth the Second. She delivered her first Christmas greeting by television in 1957. She spoke of courageous adherence to timeless traditions while embracing the rapid transition of modern life. If the advent of television was surprising then, one can only imagine her youthful response to technological accelerations today.
Yet the need for truth and justice, values which hold Western civilization together—they are under attack in unprecedented fashion, too. Not just from outsider, from Islamic terrorists, but from within, from the rigorous corruption and anti-divine retribution. But those forces are now failing. The light which first shined two thousand years ago shines still today, and encourages those desperate and fearful of the darkness, that greater glory will fall upon them soon.
Merry Christmas to all!