One of my favorite Christmas carols is “O Holy Night,” mostly because I love the first verse:
Long lay the world in sin and error pining,
‘til He appeared and the soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices,
for yonder breaks a new and glorious morn!
The Weary World
If there is one word that accurately describes the feeling in the world right now, it is probably “weary.”
We are weary from two years of pandemic. We are weary of restriction and new variants. We are weary of our friends and family members getting sick, and even dying. We are weary from the divisiveness in society. We are weary of inflation, tragedy, tension, and strife.
But, as this song reminds us, the coming of Jesus into the world is good news for the weary world. It gives us weary people a reason to rejoice. Why? Because it tells us that, “yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.”
The Day Dawns
One of the greatest metaphors the Bible uses to describe where we are at currently in the big picture of human history is: Dawn.
The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. – John 1:9
Dawn is an interesting period; *it is a time when night and day, darkness and light, exist simultaneously in the same space, yet neither are in full force*.
At dawn, the darkness that formerly ruled the night is broken by the light, but it is still dark out … though not as dark as it used to be. However, at dawn, even though light has come, the light is not yet present in its full form, because although the light has appeared, it has not yet broken over the horizon to fully dispel the darkness.
Peter expressly uses this metaphor of dawn in his second letter:
We have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until *the day dawns* and *the morning star* rises in your hearts. – 2 Peter 1:19
The Morning Star
Jesus is called “the morning star.” The “star” known as the morning star is not actually a star, but the planet Venus. The reason it is called the morning star is because it is the last “star” that is visible in the sky once the dawn has come.
The meaning and message of Christmas is that the true light has come into the world, and the dawn has begun. The beginning of dawn is an irreversible occurrence; once the first light of dawn has broken the darkness of night, it is only a matter of time before the sun crests the horizon, totally dispelling the darkness, bringing about the full light of the new day.
We live in a time right now where there is darkness in the world. It touches our lives, and we groan, along with all of the fallen creation, under the weight of the curse of sin and death. And yet, with the coming of Jesus into the world in His first advent, dawn has come: The light of life has come into our world in the person of Jesus Christ. We have the light of God’s Word to guide us … as we wait with eager expectation for Jesus’ second advent when He comes again!
For our world, covered in the shroud of darkness, a darkness which permeates even our own hearts, the message is clear: The advent of Jesus is the death knell of darkness and the guarantee that a new day is on the horizon.
Let us look to the morning star to give us hope until that day comes!