“O little town of Bethlehem
How still we see thee lie
Above thy deep and dreamless sleep
The silent stars go by
Yet in thy dark streets shineth
The everlasting Light
The hopes and fears of all the years
Are met in thee tonight”
-O Little Town of Bethlehem
“At the same time, it is a new commandment that I am writing to you, which is true in him and in you because the darkness is passing away and the true light is already shining.” 1 John 2:8
The words of this song practically represent an image of a beautiful winter landscape on a Christmas card, perhaps designed by Thomas Kinkaid. It’s a peaceful scene of Christmas night in a small, sleeping village filled with dark, quiet streets. The only thing lighting the landscape would be those silent stars going by. It’s a painting of serenity.
Is that really how it was, though? Did the people of Bethlehem lay their heads downs and sleep in heavenly peace that night? Up until then, Bethlehem was a violent place ruled by Davidic kings. There was hope, though, given to the people by the prophet, Micah. Micah prophesied that God was going to raise up a new Davidic king from the city of Bethlehem (Mic 5:2). Thus, Bethlehem was the place where David’s reign began and from which a new Davidic king would again come.
When they laid their heads down they had fear. They also had hope. They knew a King was coming who would save them. They didn’t know when. Can you imagine what it would be like to lay your head down at night with fear and to wake up knowing that your hope has come? That night they went to bed, not only in the darkness of the landscape but also in their personal darkness. In the morning, they awoke to a new light…an Everlasting Light. This Light would shine on them calling to them to bring their hopes and fears to meet it.
The Everlasting Light…bringing its shine to all the world over 2000 years ago and will continue to shine its light on each and every one of us today.
“Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.” Isaiah 60:1
Lord, thank You for the Light…the Everlasting Light that we can bring our hopes and fears to. Help me share and shine my light for others to see. Amen.