A night so black it’s impossible to see a hand that touches your nose. In our world of streetlights and porch lights, we might need to head into a cave and turn off our flashlight to experience this depth of darkness.
When it’s that dark, the tiny flame on a lighter appears bright. The darker the room, the more brilliant any light source appears.
Imagine you’re huddled on a hillside with coals of a campfire as your only illumination. Stars glitter far overhead but the moon is absent and moving two steps from the fire makes a person stumble.
An instant later, light to rival the sun’s intensity beams from overhead. A man in a white robe stands there, hovering above you.
You cover your eyes. They water. After many blinks, you can squint to see the heavenly apparition. Which only makes you hide your head beneath your arms.
There’s a reason every angel that appeared to humans said, “Fear not.”
“O holy night. The stars are brightly shining. It is the night of our dear Savior’s birth.”Lyrics by Placide Cappeau
The message of hope rings through your heart. Before you can digest it all, the messenger is joined by a host of similarly clad individuals. From one horizon to the other, the sky is blotted by the angelic chorus.
When night returns, the firelight seems paltry.
How do you respond? Do you get up and head to Bethlehem seeking the sign foretold by the angels?
That’s what the shepherds did the night their darkness became bright.
Their hope soared. Light was coming. It would push back the darkness and usher in a time of peace on earth. That’s what the messenger promised.
Sparkling lights adorn many homes and businesses. Most towns hang lighted decorations on their power poles. It’s festive.
But nothing shines as bright as that night on a hill outside of Bethlehem. Christmas brings hope because it reminds us that Jesus came once before, and he will come again.