The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned. Isaiah 9:2
In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it. John 1:4-5
And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them… Luke 2:8-9
It was now about the sixth hour, and darkness came over the whole land until the ninth hour, for the sun stopped shining. Luke 23:44-45
The theme of darkness is a pervasive one in the Bible. John tells us, “God is light and in him there is no darkness.” (1 John 1:5) In that verse, light represents the holiness and the glory of God; darkness represents evil. So also, Isaiah 9:2 asserts that, in their sinfulness, people all over the world walk in darkness. The darkness consists in ignorance of God and his ways, shameful deeds which people want cloaked, and the absence of beauty and truth. To walk in darkness is to make one foolish choice after another, leading to a devastating end. Jesus said, “If a blind man leads a blind man, both will fall into a ditch.” This spiritual darkness is devastating, and the ultimate end of such a life is to be cast into eternal darkness.
"For the most powerful display of the glory of God there has ever been was the death of the incarnate Son of God on the cross."
Therefore, it is appropriate that Jesus was born at night, and that supernatural light shining in darkness made that night unlike any other in history. The shepherds saw the angel of the Lord, and the light of the glory of the Lord shredded the darkness. The magi were led at night by a supernatural star that brought them to Bethlehem. So also, it is appropriate that when Jesus died, the light of the sun was extinguished, and the land was shrouded in total darkness. For the most powerful display of the glory of God there has ever been was the death of the incarnate Son of God on the cross. There the attributes of God were put on radiant display for the eyes of faith to see—God’s love, power, justice, wrath, grace, wisdom—indeed all the attributes of God shining in this present darkness.
So, as we celebrate Christmas this year, let us understand these symbols: darkness and light… the darkness of sin and the light of the glory of God. Let us thank God that we who were at one time walking in darkness now walk in the light of Christ. And let us anticipate a perfect world eternally illuminated by the glory of Christ.