by Mel Lawrenz
For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all people, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel. – Luke 2:30-32
The winter solstice on December 21, the darkest day of the year, means for many of us who live halfway between the equator and the North Pole, that we have breakfast when it is still dark outside, and that by supper, the sun has long set. That slide toward the shortest day of the year seems like sinking into a black hole. No wonder people in ancient cultures celebrated the days when the sun began to return. The prophet Malachi spoke of the healing power of light: “The sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings” (Malachi 4:2).
Eight days after Jesus’ birth, when Mary and Joseph had taken him to the temple as the law required, a man named Simeon saw him, and his eyes were opened to the reality of Jesus’ identity. His eyes saw God’s salvation. There, in human form. At the right place at the right time. Brought to earth not by royalty, but by an ordinary couple. He saw in Jesus a brilliant light that would show the way to salvation, not just for Israel, but also for all nations.
Days were dark then. It was hard to know when deliverance from the heavy grip of the Romans might come. Roman taxation was heavy; the sight of soldiers in the streets was a constant insult; war was always just a rumor away. The occupiers built unfamiliar buildings. It was difficult to settle into a normal pattern of living, when on a whim, an emperor in a faraway land could demand a census that sent you packing your bags.
Days are dark now. Not just because it is late December, but also because today, more and more generations are turning their back on faith, because wars rage on, because so many families are losing their homes and their jobs, because every day the evening news brings more stories of murder, disaster, rape and abuse.
But even in so much darkness, the light will never be forgotten. Light is not an illusion; in fact, darkness has no real substance. It is nothing more than the absence of light.
We need to see salvation as Simeon did—here and now. We need to use this Christmas to look at the One who has been “prepared in the sight of all people” (Lk. 2:31). The public Savior; the beacon for the world; the light for revelation.
Prayer for today:
Lord, open my eyes as Simeon’s eyes were opened to the Lord Jesus. Help me to see your light that I may live in truth and comfort in this dark world. And help me reflect your light to the many needy people around me.
Co-leader of Can't Do This On My Own
Co-leader of I Can Do All Things Through Christ
~.~There is nothing we can do to make God love us more; there is nothing we can do to make God love us less. -- Philip Yancey~