The nighttime visit of the angels to the shepherds out in their fields at the birth of Christ is a telling detail of the Christmas story. It reminds us of something important about God becoming man: it is in darkness that light can best be seen.
I well remember how dark my own life was before I came to “see the light.” For years I had been stumbling around in what I thought was light because many things had an appearance of being okay. Finally life got pitch black and all pretenses were removed. The light looked mighty good in that inky darkness. It was just what I needed.
Isaiah the prophet said: “For behold, darkness will cover the earth, and deep darkness the peoples. But the Lord will rise upon you, and His glory will appear upon you. And nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising.” (Isaiah 60:2-3)
How appropriate that the announcement of the birth of Jesus be at night. Light broke forth in great contrast to the spiritual darkness the earth had endured since Adam and Eve first sinned.
Many say the earth is very dark again. Yes, I know the world is in terrible condition but I wonder if this isn’t actually good news. Perhaps it is a sign that light is preparing to break forth once more? Don’t we long for his Second Coming?