It is nine days before Christmas and we are very much in the midst of the clutter of ordinary life. Never mind the subtleties, intensity and crowdedness of the mid-advent season. Our churches, our communities, our culture and our own choices get us into difficult places. There is, for some of us, in the current events of our day, in our personal circumstances and in the communities in which we live – a certain darkness, cloudiness or opaqueness that seems sometimes to overcome us. We are reminded by John 1:5: “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” In the Canadian Baptist Advent reader there is a treatment of this verse in the December 15th reading. Particularly, there is a treatment of one of my favourite phrases in scripture, “I am the bright morning star” Revelation 22:16. May I introduce you to Graham Ware…
The Revelation of Christmas
In the lead up to Christmas we usually turn to the familiar stories that have been played out on the stages of churches, year after year. But there’s a Christmas story we generally forget: the one in the book of Revelation.
Now, who in their right mind would ever think Christmas and immediately go to Revelation? It’s about the end, right?
When you look more closely, you see something you might miss. At the beginning of the book, Jesus reveals himself, saying, “I am the Alpha and the Omega.” (Rev 1:17) Then at the end, Jesus speaks again to John saying, “I am the Alpha and the Omega.” (Rev. 22:13) In the final statement of his speech, Jesus says, “I am the root and offspring of David, and the bright morning star.” (Rev. 22:16) The morning star appears when the night is darkest. It begins small, almost unnoticeable, but grows in brightness. Its appearance in the sky indicates that we are closer to dawn than to dusk.
Jesus’ incarnation is the first step towards the breaking of dawn that shatters the darkness of this age.
These two appearances of Jesus are bookends to Revelation. But look to the middle, the geographic centre of the book, where it says, “A great sign appeared in heaven.” (12:1)
And what is this great sign, right in the middle of Revelation?
A “Woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. She was pregnant and was crying out in birth pangs, in the agony of giving birth.” (12:1-2)
There it is. In the middle of Revelation – Christmas.
Jesus will appear again, ushering in the fullness of day. But his incarnation is the hope of the new day coming. Our hope is here. He is the morning star declaring that the darkness’s days are numbered. We live in a world where darkness still exists. But the dawn of the eternal day is coming. We, the body of Christ, therefore, bear witness to God’s sign of the morning star. God is bringing his victory to defeat the darkness, and in this we, his hands and feet, become the source of hope on earth.
Graham Ware, Pastor
Centre Street Baptist Church, St. Thomas, ON, CBOQ
May indeed, we apprehend the light that shines in all the darkness and celebrate that that light in Christ has overcome everything.