Recently my Advent devotional discussed the interesting tie between Jesus’ purpose and entrance into the world.  Hopefully I don’t ruin the story, but Jesus was birthed in a stable and was nailed to a cross.  “Jesus’ life began in a stable and ended on the cross between two criminals,” as J. Heinrich Arnold would write.  The Advent and Passion of Jesus are inextricably linked.  Edith Stein reminded me that all of the mysteries within the Christian faith are linked together.  If one takes the trip to Bethlehem, then Golgotha surely must follow.  We move from crib to cross.  From humility to utter shame.

A dark side to Christmas must be tied to the brilliance of the season.  While we can appreciate the lights and candles, we must acknowledge that it is the darkness that only adds to their glorious nature.  The lights point us towards hope and brighter days.

If candles in a window and lights hung on a tree offer beauty and hope, how much more so with the coming of the Son of God?  John states in the prologue to his gospel account that Jesus was the life of humanity, the very light of God.  “The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it” (John 1:5).  Indeed the light shines forth in both the bleak midwinter and in the depravity of the human condition.  The light of the world came forth to alter our situation and to bring redemption to our sinful reality.  As the carol ‘Silent Night’ beautifully depicts,

Silent night, holy night
Son of God, love’s pure light
Radiant beams from Thy holy face
With the dawn of redeeming grace
Jesus, Lord, at Thy birth
Jesus, Lord, at Thy birth.

God is with us.  Amen.