In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that the whole world should be enrolled. This was the first enrollment, when Quirinius was governor of Syria. So all went to be enrolled, each to his own town. And Joseph too went up from Galilee from the town of Nazareth to Judea, to the city of David that is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, to be enrolled with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. While they were there, the time came for her to have her child, and she gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
Now there were shepherds in that region living in the fields and keeping the night watch over their flock. The angel of the Lord appeared to them and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were struck with great fear. The angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For today in the city of David a savior has been born for you who is Christ and Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find an infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel, praising God and saying: “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” — Luke 2:1–14
The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; upon those who dwelt in the land of gloom a light has shone. You have brought them abundant joy and great rejoicing, as they rejoice before you as at the harvest, as people make merry when dividing spoils. For the yoke that burdened them, the pole on their shoulder, and the rod of their taskmaster you have smashed, as on the day of Midian. For every boot that tramped in battle, every cloak rolled in blood, will be burned as fuel for flames. For a child is born to us, a son is given us; upon his shoulder dominion rests. They name him Wonder-Counselor, God-Hero, Father-Forever, Prince of Peace. His dominion is vast and forever peaceful, from David’s throne, and over his kingdom, which he confirms and sustains by judgment and justice, both now and forever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this! — Isaiah 9:1–6
As I wrote last year at this time, our Advent season has concluded — in victory. Christ has come among us, at first in the form of a newborn, but has remained in us in the form of the Holy Spirit. Christ has come for all of us who wish salvation, and not just collectively, either. This is a victory for each and every one of us, personally and individually as well. We know now that our God loves us, each one of us, because He sent His only begotten Son — the incarnation of the Word — into the world to lead us back into His love and His life.
Victory might be difficult to feel in 2020, for lots of reasons. We are a world under siege from a pandemic, divided against ourselves on many levels, and dealing with an economy on the precipice of a second collapse in the same year. This is precisely why we need Advent and Christmas, though — to lead us out of the darkness of a fallen world and into the light of the Lord. We celebrate the Light of Christ piercing our darkness, not just the darkness of this time but the darkness of all times. The coming of the Christ child reminds us of God’s abundant love for us and His yearning for us to return to Him of our own free will in love, as sons and daughters. And though the darkness seems particularly acute and frightening now, it serves to highlight the hope of Jesus Christ even more brilliantly.
From all of us to all our readers at Hot Air and across the Townhall Media Group, we wish you a blessed and merry Christmas. For one last victorious look at the Nativity, I will leave you (as I do most years) with this beautiful scene from The Nativity Story.
The front page image is a detail from “The Nativity” by Fra Diamante, c.1465-70. On display at the Louvre. Via Wikimedia Commons.