I’m really enjoying Timothy Keller’s Hidden Christmas for my Advent reading. He points out that Christmas is a festival of lights. Why do we decorate with Christmas lights and light candles? Because Christmas is about our Lord coming into a dark world as a great light.
This is a metaphor, of course. Jesus Christ wasn’t a glowing baby. So what does “darkness” signify? What’s wrong with the world? Why is it appropriate to think of it as dark? You don’t have to look any further than the news. Actually, we don’t have to look any further than our own hearts and minds. Darkness, Keller says, refers to both evil and ignorance.
So, the Advent (coming) of our Lord is a type of dawn. He defines Truth, Goodness, and Beauty. He shines on evil revealing it for what it really is. Our Teacher, he confronts our ignorance and shows us what true wisdom looks like. Our Righteousness, he exchanges our evil for his goodness.
This is painful. In fact, the dark world hated this Light so much it tried to snuff it out–multiple times, the Bible tells us–until they succeeded in killing him. But keeping him in the dark tomb was as futile as trying to keep the sun from rising.
So, this Advent, as I sit in my dark living room with hundreds of tiny lights illuminating a dark green tree; as that light softly shows me the contours of the furniture and the looks of anticipation on my children’s faces; as candles glow above our nativities; I’m mindful of what my life would be like without the dawn of redeeming love. It’s a dark thought.
But this room is not black. It shines with Truth, Goodness, and Beauty.