Christmas 2010 might be celebrated under the gloom of military conflicts in Afghanistan, Somalia, Iraq, and the Sudan. Natural disasters have left countless people with nothing in places like Haiti, Pakistan, and Chile.
Meanwhile Greece, Ireland, Portugal and Spain are drowning in debt, and the United States may not be far behind. For here on the home front, more than 40 million people are unemployed which is the highest unemployment rate since World War II. The U.S. National Debt is more than $13 trillion and the 2010 deficit was the second-highest shortfall since 1945.
In the midst of such dark news and in spite of such gloomy headlines, the words of the Prophet Isaiah cry out to our world. For this year the world needs more than ever to listen to Isaiah’s prophetic words: “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; upon those who dwelt in the land of gloom a light has shone.”
This “great light” is Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and the Savior of the World who was born in a cold and dark stable in Bethlehem. All the darkness and gloom our world suffers at the beginning of this 21st century cannot withstand the powerful light first cast by the Christ Child in the crèche two thousand years ago. Christ is a light so powerful that he cuts through all of the gloomy clouds of war and violence, poverty and hunger, sickness and suffering, sin and selfishness looming over our world. This Christmas is no different than any other as the heavenly light of Bethlehem’s star once again calls us to look upward beyond all the darkness of our world, beyond the darkness we may experience in our own lives and to see beyond the gloomy clouds of this world into the next.
All too often people look to this passing world with its allure of power and money to find light, hope, peace and even a future. Nations and governments rise and fall, economies fail and stock markets crash and yet God alone endures. Jesus Christ is the eternal light of hope and peace who forever casts the darkness from our world. Let Christmas 2010 be celebrated not with gloom and doom but rather with deep faith, profound hope and bountiful joy for God has sent His light to the world and “they name him Wonder-Counselor, God-Hero, Father-Forever, and Prince of Peace.” Merry Christmas!