The Light of Christmas
By Dr. Jake Baker
I wonder what the media would have said about that first Christmas night. I’ve been in the news business for most of my life. I am a student of prophecy, history, and headlines. Unfortunately knowing prophecy, having studied history, and being immersed in the darkness of current reality, there are times when happiness is a fleeting breeze and joy is a commodity in desperately short supply. So how do we make the journey from this present darkness back to a night sky filled with angels spilling from the halls of heaven and back to a manger in Bethlehem 2000 years ago that tells the story of eternity, Yahweh’s overawing love for humanity and the hope birthed that night when the world was forever changed?
Perhaps the first step is to close our eyes and picture that first Christmas. It must have been quite a scene in heaven when that beautiful baby boy was born. All of eternity had held its breath awaiting this one event which would forever change the course of human history.
Kings and legends come and go but this event, this blip of a story on history’s timeline in ancient Bethlehem, would change the world, it would even change time and dates of the entire world. Because of this one event, it is Christmas all over the world. It is hard to fathom such a seemingly unnoticed and unremarkable event, a baby being born would become an occasion so momentous that even the calendar of the entire world was changed by the keeping of this day.
I can imagine all of heaven scurrying about in anticipation of this birth that would mark the redemption of mankind and all creation. Imagine the trumpeted heralds filling heaven with the announcement of the royal birth. There is noise, preparation, angels being dispatched here and there, while heaven’s choir exalts with joy that can scarcely be contained even by the vastness of heaven. Then suddenly everything abruptly ends.
All of heaven stops and there is a hush, a quiet only heaven can know. It starts in the throne room and suddenly all of heaven falls silent. There is not a whisper not a sound. It is as if all eternity has stopped, as if no one were even breathing, waiting in almost unbearable stillness for this one overwhelming – breathtaking moment.
And just as suddenly, it is the first Christmas and the floodgates of joy and love which have been in reserve from all eternity, surge across the heavens. Once again it starts in the throne room among the Seraphin and Cherubim.
The unrestrained sound of angles singing with such exuberance that the music reaches the very soul and spirit, as if it has a life of its own. The angels are singing notes never before heard in all of eternity. There are glorious sounds and instruments becoming one with the air of heaven flowing like a river from the throne room so powerfully that it would overwhelm the senses of mere mortals – but in heaven they are the sounds of everlasting destiny being fulfilled.
The joy quickly spreads from the throne room and fills the halls and rooms and every crack and crevasse of heaven. But even the expanse of heaven can’t contain the unbridled joy as the very air and sky come alive with the rapturous glory of the event. Even then there is more exultation and joy than heaven can hold, and the sounds of that Christmas burst across the universe and reach all the way to earth itself and to the dark skies above the plains of Bethlehem.
But the glory of that first Christmas has faded with the darkness that has settled like a demonic fog across planet earth. So many in the world are lost and burdened in this spiritual darkness and know nothing of what this wondrous night brought. They have lost sight of Bethlehem and so many hearts have turned cold and know nothing of the real truth of a stable, a manger and a little baby born to a virgin in the still of a Bethlehem night.
But Mary … Mary undoubtedly remembered the angel and the promise of her child. She remembered the words of Elizabeth and how John had leaped in Elizabeth’s womb at the announcement of this holy child that grew within her. How could Mary possibly understand that this beautiful little baby she had born would bear the sins, the sorrows, the spiritual sickness of all mankind for all eternity. That He would heal the wounded heart and mend the bruised spirit of all humanity? That before the world existd, He was already heaven’s gift.
And there was Mary with the child braced against the chill of a Christmas night, in that rude stable in Bethlehem. So many thoughts – so many events – so overwhelming. And yet while Mary struggled with understanding, her spirit told her to gather it all in and she “pondered these things in her heart”.
Like Mary, we should gather in all these marvels of heaven’s love and ponder them in our hearts because these events, the Creator’s gift of heaven, forever changed eternity as a loving Father sent his own son to a darkened world, that we might live in redemption’s light.
What a blessed time to celebrate that evening, that birth over which all heaven held its breath as the darkness of four thousand years of Adam’s sin, of enmity between God and man, of separation between our hearts and the heart of God, were in that moment in time, healed and just as the angel had said that remarkable night … that holy night … There truly was peace on earth … good will to men.
And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. – Luke 2:8-11
Then suddenly, bursting from the overflow of heaven itself, the sky is filled with the heavenly host. It is if every note, every word is etched in the throne room from the very heart of the Father and the angel speaks, “Glory to God in the highest and peace on earth good will toward men.” And the joy that filled heaven is now echoing through the hills and valleys around the lowly village of Bethlehem.
But two thousand years ago, there were no mega cities filled with lights, planes, trains, and automobiles. So, one can only imagine the terror that gripped these men who spent their nights in the quiet solitude of the dark wilderness around Bethlehem.
Now, suddenly shattering the solitude of the night and the still of that starry sky, angels flood the gloaming as they spill from heaven to the skies above the fearful herdsmen. The darkness of four thousand years of Adam’s sin have suddenly been washed in the glory and light of heaven and the world has been blessed and made new with angelic radiance as eternity’s redemption unfolds before their wondering eyes … and hope and peace replace their terror as the angel shares a comforting message.
For Unto You Is Born This Day In The City of David – A Savior – Which Is Christ The Lord.
And the shepherds, filled with great joy, made their way to Bethlehem.
And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. – Luke 2:15
But their short journey didn’t take them to a palace or the finest house in town? No, they found their way to a rough stable which was perhaps little more than a carveout in a stone cliff on the edge of town. But there were no streaming banners of purple and gold, no uniformed soldiers guarding royalty, or royal fineries lining the bed of this king. The bed was the straw from the stable that filled the manger forming the makeshift bed in which baby Yeshua was laid.
These were poor shepherds who had little to bring their newborn king. They were not men of means and wealth or power, they were simple shepherds and had nothing but themselves and the sweet honesty of their faith and their adoration.
But that was enough then and it is still enough now. The light the world seeks is the illumination of the star of Bethlehem shining down on the only hope of mankind, Yeshua.
And what must have been going through the mind of the young maiden Mary as she beheld the mysterious star shining down on this forlorn stable as she received the unexpected visit from the shepherds. Oh, how her mind must have raced as she struggled to understand the message of the angels … as they recalled the heavenly visitation in the fields of Bethlehem! What could all of this possibly mean? Who indeed was this precious baby she held in her arms?
Sadly, many in the world today are still in darkness like the darkness that shrouded the streets of small Bethlehem. They know nothing of what this night brought. For them it is all about the money – just another marketing ploy – where big dollars roll through the hands of merchants.
But Mary … Mary knew on that night that this child was different. She undoubtedly remembered the angel and the promise of her child. She remembered the words of Elizabeth and how John had lept in her aunt’s womb at the announcement of her own pregnancy.
It was all so overwhelming. How could Mary understand that this tiny baby in her arms nuzzling at her breast was to bear the sins, the sorrows, the spiritual sickness of all mankind for all eternity and that He would heal the wounded hearts and mend the bruised spirits of all humanity? He was heaven’s gift given before the worlds were framed.
And there was Mary with the child braced against the chill of a Christmas night, in that rude stable in Bethlehem. So many thoughts – so many experiences – so overwhelming. And yet while her head must have been spinning and her mind reeling, scripture tells us that she gathered it all in and pondered these things in her heart.
Like Mary, we should gather in all these marvels of heaven’s love and ponder them in our hearts because these events, the angels, the gift of heaven we celebrate, forever changed eternity as a loving Father sent his own son to a darkened world that we might live in the light of redemption.
What a blessed time to celebrate that evening, that birth over which all heaven held its breath as the darkness of four thousand years of Adam’s sin, of enmity between God and man, of separation between our hearts and the heart of God, were in that one moment in time, healed and just as the angel had said that remarkable night … that holy night … there truly was peace on earth … good will to men.
So now, as darkness descends upon this planet, as evil, like a poison cloud, seeps into every crack and crevasse on earth, remember to keep looking up because the next time the sky fills with angels that same tiny babe of Bethlehem will return, but this time as the Lion of Judah. Heaven will once again overflow with the power and majesty of Yahweh and in an instant darkness will turn to light, defeat will turn to victory, and our broken hearts and wounded spirits will be healed and restored, and we will know innocence and the peace of that tiny baby who will fill our hearts and bring to each of us what we have longed for through all of history … Peace.