December 7, 2021
"Do not rejoice over me, O my enemy; when I fall, I shall rise; when I sit in darkness, the Lord will be a light to me."
Most people know that Jesus was probably not born on December 25th. In all likelihood, based on the biblical narrative, he was actually born in early fall or summer…or possibly mid-spring. No one today really knows for sure.
We celebrate Christmas on this date because in ancient Rome there was already a major holiday around this time, the Winter Solstice festival called the Saturnalia. When the Romans adopted Christianity by decree under Constantine around 330AD, this was a pretty convenient date to pick so that there was less interruption to traditions and festivals. Makes sense - not much to it.
However, a few years ago, a friend shared with me some deeper significance about the date. The Winter Solstice is actually the longest and darkest night of the year, when the earth is tilted furthest away from the sun. The next day, the earth begins its tilt back towards the sun and our days grow with more light.
I love this significance - that Jesus brings light into our world, just like the sun, and that every day there is more light vanquishing the darkness.
So, as we think about this verse in Micah and “the Lord being a light to us (me),” just like the darkest night of the year being overtaken by the sun, we can think about Jesus coming into this world and being our light in darkness. Even when things look bleak and our “enemies” are “rejoicing,” and we are stuck “sitting in darkness,” don’t lose heart. Jesus is our light, he has come, and he is here to bring victory over the darkness.
Thank you for the light of Jesus coming into the darkness of our lives and our world. Help us to always look for and celebrate Your light. Do not let us be afraid of our enemies or challenges - remind us that You have come to free us from the darkness. Amen.