Christmas: Darkness gives way to Christ’s Light

December 24, 2023 at 11:01 a.m.
A Nativity scene is displayed in Bishop O’Connell’s home in preparation for Christmas. Staff photo
A Nativity scene is displayed in Bishop O’Connell’s home in preparation for Christmas. Staff photo


I wake up very early most days. I rarely, if ever, have to set my alarm clock. I love the early morning when everything is peaceful and quiet. And in the silence of those first moments of the day, it seems that God and I have some of our best conversations. My mind is not cluttered with schedules and busyness. The crush of meetings, travel and the day’s activities appear far distant at that time, even though they are only a couple of hours away. I watch the dark of night slowly give way to the light of another day.

In the season of Advent, as Christmas as fast approaches, my thoughts and prayers turn to the mystery of our salvation: the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Word made Flesh. In many respects, what I experience very early each morning is not unlike what humanity experienced that first Christmas day.

When God actually created the world, no one really knows for sure.  We only know that God did create it.  God said, “Let there be light” and there was light – at least until man dimmed that light through original sin. And, so, humanity waited and waited, hoping that the light would be restored. The ancient Scriptures are filled with promises and predictions that it would be restored, and our faith was born from those prophecies. Slowly, ever so slowly, the darkness of the world gave way, and the Lord Jesus Christ was born: “God from God, Light from Light, True God from True God” as we profess in the Creed each Sunday. The Old Testament prophet Isaiah foretold this marvelous moment in time:

The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; upon those who lived in a land of gloom a light has shone. You have brought them abundant joy and great rejoicing; They rejoice before you as people rejoice at harvest … for a child is born to us, a son is given to us; upon his shoulder dominion rests.  They name him Wonder-Counselor, God-Hero, Father-Forever, Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9: 1-5).

The dawn of light and of day is, indeed, an excellent metaphor for the coming of Jesus Christ into our world:

And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth (John 1: 14).

A waiting world looked for the coming of the Messiah the same way it waits for the coming of the dawn and the daylight it brings. In the quiet of night, light breaks through the darkness and, suddenly, we can see again. In the quiet of night, a Word is spoken and, suddenly, we can hear again. In the quiet of night, God’s glory is revealed and, suddenly, grace and truth are ours again. Christmas is that Light, that Word, that Glory and it is ours, as Christians, on Christmas day again and every day of our lives, full of grace and truth.  “For a Child is born to us, a Son is given to us” … and we name him again as He is: “Wonder-Counselor, God-Hero, Father-Forever, Prince of Peace.”

Yes, the light has come, the “Morning Star” has risen brightly not only in the Bethlehem sky but throughout the whole world; not only 2,000 years ago but in the present moment and forever. 

“And with the dawn there is rejoicing and gladness for the upright of heart (Psalm 97: 11).” 


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I wake up very early most days. I rarely, if ever, have to set my alarm clock. I love the early morning when everything is peaceful and quiet. And in the silence of those first moments of the day, it seems that God and I have some of our best conversations. My mind is not cluttered with schedules and busyness. The crush of meetings, travel and the day’s activities appear far distant at that time, even though they are only a couple of hours away. I watch the dark of night slowly give way to the light of another day.

In the season of Advent, as Christmas as fast approaches, my thoughts and prayers turn to the mystery of our salvation: the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Word made Flesh. In many respects, what I experience very early each morning is not unlike what humanity experienced that first Christmas day.

When God actually created the world, no one really knows for sure.  We only know that God did create it.  God said, “Let there be light” and there was light – at least until man dimmed that light through original sin. And, so, humanity waited and waited, hoping that the light would be restored. The ancient Scriptures are filled with promises and predictions that it would be restored, and our faith was born from those prophecies. Slowly, ever so slowly, the darkness of the world gave way, and the Lord Jesus Christ was born: “God from God, Light from Light, True God from True God” as we profess in the Creed each Sunday. The Old Testament prophet Isaiah foretold this marvelous moment in time:

The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; upon those who lived in a land of gloom a light has shone. You have brought them abundant joy and great rejoicing; They rejoice before you as people rejoice at harvest … for a child is born to us, a son is given to us; upon his shoulder dominion rests.  They name him Wonder-Counselor, God-Hero, Father-Forever, Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9: 1-5).

The dawn of light and of day is, indeed, an excellent metaphor for the coming of Jesus Christ into our world:

And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth (John 1: 14).

A waiting world looked for the coming of the Messiah the same way it waits for the coming of the dawn and the daylight it brings. In the quiet of night, light breaks through the darkness and, suddenly, we can see again. In the quiet of night, a Word is spoken and, suddenly, we can hear again. In the quiet of night, God’s glory is revealed and, suddenly, grace and truth are ours again. Christmas is that Light, that Word, that Glory and it is ours, as Christians, on Christmas day again and every day of our lives, full of grace and truth.  “For a Child is born to us, a Son is given to us” … and we name him again as He is: “Wonder-Counselor, God-Hero, Father-Forever, Prince of Peace.”

Yes, the light has come, the “Morning Star” has risen brightly not only in the Bethlehem sky but throughout the whole world; not only 2,000 years ago but in the present moment and forever. 

“And with the dawn there is rejoicing and gladness for the upright of heart (Psalm 97: 11).” 

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