Light and Dark #4 – Christmas Characters

Isaiah 9: 2 (NIV) The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.

Darkness and Light is very much a part of the Christmas story, just because they do not breathe has nothing to do with anything!  Holding to the idea of God starting with darkness and then bring light plays very much into the First Coming of Jesus.

This image in Isaiah 9: 2 where it is foretold that Galilee would see a great light.  Verse 6 of chapter 9 is also a much-used Christmas verse. In chapter 8 we see what was happening in Isaiah’s life as well as Israel at the time of this word.  Isaiah and his children are physical signs to a nation that was not following God, and Assyria is predicted to come and sweep the land clean. Galilee was part of the Northern Kingdom that left the worship of God for idols.  Kings and Chronicles go into detail of their unfaithfulness and for Galilee to be associated with Gentiles or the nations hints how far they had fallen. 9: 2 tells us that the people were in darkness (spiritual darkness) and that they would see a great light.  This is the region where Jesus did much of His earthly ministry, they saw the Light!  Isaiah 8: 19 – 22 paints the picture of mediums and spiritualists with the people being distressed, hungry, and fearful.

Dark and light set the stage for the angels’ announcement to the shepherds in Luke 2: 8 – 12.  It was night all around the shepherds when the Glory (light) replaced the darkness and they heard that the Light of the World had come.

Joseph was in darkness (night, asleep) when the angel told him to accept the Light and marry Mary. Joseph had several dreams that would lead him into the light he needed: to go to Egypt, to return, and to go to Galilee.

The Wise Men also show our dark to light theme in Matthew 2: 2; 9 -10.  They were the living definition of the Gentiles in Isaiah 8, they worshipped the stars and sought guidance from the created not the Creator! So, in their night they saw a light (star – “every star a burning signal fire of grace” from the song 100 Billion X by Hillsong) that would lead them to worship the King!  The Father also gave them night visions to protect the Light and sent them home a different route.

After many Nativity movies and planetarium shows on the Christmas star, I will admit this thought is not mine or original.  I have heard about comets and stars in the wrong constellations, then there was the animated movie that the door to heaven was left open as explanations for the star. We know that the glory showed in the night sky over Bethlehem.  The Magi eluded they saw the star/light when the king was born.  It reappeared after leaving Jerusalem and then stationed itself over where Jesus was. (I think the Holy Family went back to Nazareth before going to Egypt.)  The Magi gave Herod a two-year period since they observed the star.  I find it easier to believe that the star/light was angels on “star-duty” than a comet or out of place star.

To tell the story of Christmas there has to be darkness, and Light came in to show the way.

See the post Follow the Light.

pic: http://clipart.christiansunite.com

FURTHER THOUGHT – Compare the Christmas story to Genesis 1 and the “First Day”.

Christmas – The Wise Men

Christmas – The Wise Men

Epiphany, the day the Wise Men show up to worship Jesus. It marks the end of the copy-wisemen-2.jpgTwelve Days of Christmas (See Epiphany or Three Kings Day) and in some countries it is celebrated with as much enthusiasm as December 25th. Matthew 2: 1-18 record the story in the New Testament (See Magi and Herod for OT verses). Matthew, who starts with Joseph’s family line, continues telling the story from “Joseph’s view-point.” (The angelic dreams and his reactions.) Even if you combine Matthew and Luke’s narratives there are a lot of unanswered questions. I guess there should be but we can look at what we know.

Mary and Joseph being good Jewish parents fulfill the requirements of the Law with the trip to the Temple. There they receive blessings and prophecies to settle both Joseph’s and Mary’s fears and doubts. For us facts are added like Luke stating, “they went to Nazareth and Jesus grew” while Matthew tells the story of the Magi and the trip to Egypt all starting from a “house.” But I have a feeling that times and locations are not what is important here.

The Magi or Wise Men were the scholars and learned men of the day. They counseled kings and influenced decisions. They are found in Daniel and other books of the Bible like Ezekiel 21: 21 checking the “liver” for the king so he knows which way to go. What they represent in the Christmas story is huge. These are Gentiles/heathen (us) acknowledging Jesus and his kingship. They are the college professors of the day following their studies and observations looking for a baby that was talked about in Jewish scriptures. It was no little trip for them to show up in Judea looking for a king, several months of travel were required and the supplies and then the gifts. I would guess it was not just three guys on camels it may have well been a caravan(s) with guards and servants. Were they sent as a diplomatic envoy?

Plus them showing up set Herod off so that the prophecies in Jeremiah 31:15 and Hosea 11:1 would be fulfilled – Herod killing the babies and Jesus coming out of Egypt.

Christmas Verses – Magi and Herod

Christmas Verses – Magi and Herod

Balaam is the guy with the talking donkey who was hired to curse Israel. The Lord would not let him, instead in Numbers 24:17 -19 he delivers a prophecy about Jesus and the destruction of Israel’s enemies.

17 “I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not near. A star will come out of Jacob;
a scepter will rise out of Israel. He will crush the foreheads of Moab, the skulls of all the people of Sheth. 18 Edom will be conquered; Seir, his enemy, will be conquered, but Israel will grow strong. 19 A ruler will come out of Jacob and destroy the survivors of the city.” (NIV)

This great verse covers Jesus, the Star, and Herod (Edom). Herod was not a Jew but an Edomite. To see more about them click here: Herod. For more about Balaam: Lord my/your God and Amalekites – Part 2

Psalm138: May all the kings of the earth praise you, Lord, when they hear what you havecopy-wisemen-2.jpg decreed and Psalm 72: 10 May the kings of Tarshish and of distant shores bring tribute to him. May the kings of Sheba and Seba present him gifts. New International Version (NIV) These verses describe the Magi coming to praise the new King of Israel and present Him with gifts.

Reference – Dr. Scott Hahn’s book Joy to the World.

The verses are from https://www.biblegateway.com/