Heaven couldn’t contain itself! The thin line between heaven and earth peeled back. Countless angels cascaded onto the hillside near Bethlehem ready to burst forth with high praises. With a light the earth had never seen before, myriads of angels appeared, glowing with heaven’s glory before the startled shepherds. First, the glory of God manifested, shining all around them; then the trumpet voice of the mighty angel proclaimed the good news to the whole world. Rank upon rank of angels spiraled into formation in the blinding glory. Unable to hold it back, they let it roar:
“Glory to GodLuke 2:14 TPT
in the highest realms of heaven!
For there is peace and a good hope
given to the sons of men.”
Imagine that sight! All because a child is born. The appearance of Jesus in human history means the end of gloom, despair, and hopelessness. The scourge of sin and death is lifted off the lives of those who believe in Jesus Christ.
I will never forget the birth of each of our three children. A child is born to the Simmons’ house! A few years later . . . another, and then another. To us daughters were born. A son was given to us. Mom and dad didn’t plan on any of them, but plans for all three existed before time was born. This triple gift to us came in the form of two darling girls and a son of delight. Yes, a child can change the world. They sure changed ours!
Praise must rise from your heart this Christmas season. What we have before us is not the end of the world but the end of gloom. This truth must grip your heart as you look at your life today. Ponder the words of Isaiah, the seer-prophet, written over 2,700 years ago:
“No more gloom for those who are in distress!Isaiah 9:1–4 TPT
Although the Lord greatly humbled the regions of Zebulun and Naphtali,
he will one day bestow upon them great honor . . .
Those who walked in darkness
have seen a radiant light shining upon them.
They once lived in the shadows of death,
but now a glorious light has dawned!
Lord, you have multiplied the nation
and given them overwhelming joy!
They are ecstatic in your presence
and rejoice like those who bring in a great harvest
and those who divide up the spoils of victory!
For you have broken the chains
that have bound your people
and lifted off the heavy bar across their shoulders,
the rod the oppressor used against them.”
Do you feel the ecstatic joy of this passage? God, through the miraculous birth of his Son, has lifted gloom, despair, and oppression from the hearts of his people! Radiant light now bursts into those dark places where shame had made a home. The birth of Christ is a prophecy that marks the removal of every dark shadow in your life! The work of God’s Son on the cross takes away all that once brought us shame. Now, only joy remains.
In the place where devastation has robbed hope, he will appear! God punished the land of Zebulun and Naphtali along with all of Israel for their disobedience. They had turned a deaf ear to the prophet Amos and the appeals of Hosea and Isaiah the prophets. They predicted an invasion that would come if the people did not repent, and they didn’t. Yet even during such warning and impending judgment there was a promise—a light that would come and release healing rays. No matter what happens this light will be present and shining on tender hearts until the whole earth is bathed in this light (Isaiah 60:1).
Zebulun and the land of Naphtali were the very first territories the attacking armies of Assyria conquered, plunging the nation into gloom and darkness. Zebulun and Naphtali became symbols of those who couldn’t endure, fallen ones who could not resist. Yet they will be the ones honored and esteemed on the day the light shines. That’s always how God acts! He chooses the places in our lives where we have the most disgrace and shame, and there brings his light. Our past failures become prophecies of a future victory!
So why would Isaiah point us to the birth of this baby and tell us that gloom is gone forever the day this child was born? Because a light has come. Jesus Christ, even as an infant, was brightest light to ever come to this sin-darkened planet. How many lives has this light transformed? How many hearts has his light healed when its rays shone upon them?
Have you ever faced depression and gloom? I have. More than once I was convinced that my darkness would not end. Sometimes it seemed like demons, people, and circumstances all line up against me and point out my failures, and they are miserable ones. My sins become amplified and God’s voice muted. My own heart had me convinced that my twilight steps would drag me deeper into darkness. Then he stepped in! My great light became my salvation. The only time gloom ends in my life is when I crave the light and allow him to penetrate my fears and distress.
“Those who walked in darknessIsaiah 9:2a TPT
have seen a radiant light shining upon them.”
This passage is fulfilled every time you feel the darkness closing in. There’s a new day dawning each time our hearts turn to the light: “Even if darkness overtakes them, sunrise-brilliance will come bursting through” (Psalm 112:4 TPT). This great light coming to light our way is Jesus Christ. As Jesus appeared as a baby, the shining star highlighted his birthplace. Through the preaching of the True Prophet, the star turned into the rays of a sunrise.
Jesus is the radiant light that has come to take us home. It is God who opens our eyes to that light. He opens our blinded eyes and we fall in love with him. This radiant light includes his teachings, his miracles, his pure life lived before the Father. It is the light of joy, the light of revelation, the light of deliverance. Jesus Christ is a light of direction for the lost and comfort for the hurting. Jesus’s birth signals an end of night and the beginning of morning.
“They once lived in the shadows of death,Isaiah 9:2b TPT
but now a glorious light has dawned!”
We may spend our days in the light of his countenance, basking in his glory. The sweet, dawning light of Jesus has taken away the shadows (fears and doubts). The battle of the ages is over. Light has conquered darkness. We must choose to dwell in the light and allow its increase to be imparted within us.
Joy to the World!
A feast of joy is waiting for us. Fast from your pain, problems, and disappointments and rejoice in the good things God is unveiling in these last days. Revival joy is about to break forth! So full and so glorious it defies description.
“You love him passionately although you did not see him, but through believing in him you are saturated with an ecstatic joy, indescribably sublime and immersed in glory.”1 Peter 1:8 TPT
This joy is not exclusive to humanity—the angels get to partake of this Christmas joy! For the first time in all eternity, the angels got to see God’s face, it was the face of a baby. Bethlehem’s manger was like a throne for angels to come and worship. No wonder they sang and rejoiced, for God had entered his creation, for God took upon himself the likeness of men.
“For the mystery of righteousness is truly amazing!1 Timothy 3:16 TPT
He was revealed as a human being,
and as our great High Priest in the Spirit!
Angels gazed upon him as a man . . .
Yes, great is this mystery of righteousness!”
The mystery of the incarnation of Christ must grip us with great joy this season! Angels saw in the form of a baby the one they had worshipped and served from the beginning. They stand in awe and worship night and day before God, unable to see a form or a face—but on that morning, they saw the face of a newborn. They gazed upon the face and rejoiced.
Joy to the World!
“No more let sins and sorrows growIsaac Watts, “Joy to the World,” 1719
Nor thorns infest the ground
He comes to make his blessings flow
Far as the curse is found, far as the curse is found
Far as, far as the curse is found.”