A Light in the Darkness: The Reality of the Christmas Story

A Light in the Darkness: The Reality of the Christmas Story December 23, 2016

 

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This guest post was written by Katie van Santen

How you think of the Christmas story may not have changed much since you were a child. The beautiful image of a pregnant lady on a donkey and a cosy stable full of smiling people snuggled up in clean hay.

The reality was quite different. The reality was an unplanned teenage pregnancy and a doubting fiancé. The reality was a politically-forced journey at just the wrong time. The reality was a husband who couldn’t provide shelter for his new family. The reality was smelly and dirty and bloody. The reality was mass infanticide and a refugee’s flight. The reality was Mary being told this child would pierce her soul.

It wasn’t nice, it wasn’t sparkly and wonderful… it was awful and squalid and confusing. It was everything going wrong for a couple who had been told this was God’s plan, who trusted Him to look after them.

But God chose weakness and failure to be the birthplace of the Light of the World. He took all that looked like it was going wrong, when it looked like it couldn’t get worse, but did… He used that darkness, that doubt, that fear, to speak the truth that darkness and doubt and fear aren’t failure, but can be the birthplace of the greatest victory.


Later, when Jesus had grown and lived, everything was going wrong for his followers who had been told this was God’s plan, who trusted him for all their hopes and future. God chose another place of weakness and failure to be the Salvation of the World. It all looked like it was going wrong when he was arrested, it looked like it couldn’t get any worse… then it did, when Jesus was nailed to a cross and died.

God used that darkness, that doubt, that fear, to speak the truth that darkness and doubt and fear aren’t failure, but can be the birthplace of the greatest victory.


In the New Year, the Christmas tree at the front of our church will be kept, stripped of its branches, and at Easter will become our cross. The cross will be empty, because a dead man isn’t good news. An empty cross, an empty grave, and a risen Christ proclaims that darkness is not the end of the story.

There is a dawn coming.


63267_461950095997_6663309_nKatie van Santen lives in Plymouth with some lego and quite a few books. She has just completed her Certificate of Higher Education in Theology, Ministry and Mission. Currently she is not a marine biologist or science teacher due to disability, but keeps herself busy as a volunteer aquarium host, visiting preacher, and Fairy Godmother.


 

Image via Pixabay

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  • Tanya Marlow

    Love this! Have been thinking similar thoughts this Advent.

  • Thanks so much for sharing this. It is a big help in my keeping this Christmas season in perspective.

  • rationalobservations?

    The problems are:
    1) The familiar story called the Nativity does not appear in any of the very different versions of bibles written by men since the oldest bible (Codex Sinaiticus) first appeared in the late 4th century.
    2) The two very different versions of the Nativity that appear in modern bibles contradict each other and contradict the fable discussed above and enacted by cute kids around this time each year.
    3) There is absolutely no evidence based historical trace of the existence or centuries later written legends of Jesus.
    4) The confused and internally contradictory contents of all the diverse and very different versions of bibles are unsupported by a shred of historical evidence.

    The word “Jesus” does not appear in any document, letter, papyri, official record, chronicle, graffito or inscription that originated from within the first century.