In the beginning God created . . .
But all was darkness, emptiness, void.
The darkness smothered and deceived, discouraged and destroyed; the darkness seemed to be unconquerable, dominating and overbearing. Everything else seemed to bow to the power of the darkness. But the Word was stronger.
”Then God said ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light. And God saw that the light was good. Then he separated the light form the darkness. God called the light ‘day’ and the darkness ‘night’.
“Then God said, ‘Let lights appear in the sky to separate the day from the night. Let them be signs to mark the seasons, days, and years. Let these lights in the sky shine down on the earth.’ And that is what happened. God made two great lights – the larger one to govern the day and the smaller one to govern the night. He also made the stars. God set these lights in the sky to light the earth, to govern day and night and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good.” ~ Genesis 1:3-4a, 14-18a
And the Word shone into the darkness.
The darkness fought against the light and found a way back into the world. Sin entered the world through Adam, flooding the pristine world with death, disease, murder, anything that would mar or smother the likeness of the Word.
To a man and woman following the light, favored by the light, it brought barrenness, until all hope was gone.
“Then God said, ‘Let there be a son’. And the Lord kept his word and did for Sarah exactly what he had promised. She became pregnant, and she gave birth to a son for Abraham in his old age. This happened at just the time God had said it would. And Abraham named their son Isaac. Eight days after Isaac was born, Abraham circumcised him as God had commanded. Abraham was 100 years old when Isaac was born.
“And Sarah declared, ‘God has brought me laughter. All who hear about this will laugh with me. Who would have said to Abraham that Sarah would nurse a baby? Yet I have given Abraham a son in his old age.’”~ Genesis 21:1-7
More children were born; their children bore children upon children until they truly numbered as the sands of the sea and with the children came more and more promises from the Word. The Word promised to save and heal, restore and redeem. And the darkness fought against the promises. The darkness found a servant who would enslave the children of the Word, trampling on them, beating and killing them. The servant of darkness destroyed an entire generation of baby boys. The children were tired and discouraged, lost and wandering without hope.
Then God said, “Let there be a shepherd.”
“There the angel of the LORD appeared to him in a blazing fire from the middle of a bush. Moses stared in amazement. Though the bush was engulfed in flames, it didn’t burn up.
“Then the Lord told him, ‘I have certainly seen the oppression of my people in Egypt. I have heard their cries of distress because of their harsh slave drivers. Yes, I am aware of their suffering. So I have come down to rescue them from the power of the Egyptians and lead them out of Egypt into their own fertile and spacious land.
Look! The cry of the people of Israel has reached me, and I have seen how heard the Egyptians abuse them. Now go, for I am sending you to Pharoah. You must lead my people Israel out of Egypt.’
So all the people of Israel followed all the LORD’s commands to Moses and Aaron. On that very day the LORD brought the people of Israel out of Egypt like an army.” ~ Exodus 3:2,7-10,12:50-51
And the Word led his people out of darkness, into green pastures, beside still waters, restoring their souls.
The children of God were at last a nation. But unlike their ancient fathers, they sought their own way, their own lands, their own customs, and eventually, their own gods. Time after time, unfaithfulness marred the marriage between the Israelites and their God. Rebellion and idolatry were the harmonies in the song of the children, always fighting to be the dominant sound. “We don’t want to be different!” they cried. “We can’t see! Where are we going? What is our God doing? How can we follow Him like this?” The darkness whispered in their ears that they must be like other nations. Small, insignificant lies that would surely lead them away from the Word, the darkness keened dissatisfaction into the hearts of the children, believing that the Word would forsake them for their unfaithful ways.
Then God said, “Let there be a king.”
“The LORD said to Samuel, ‘Don’t judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The LORD doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.’
“In the same way all seven of Jesse’s sons were presented to Samuel. But Samuel said to Jesse, ‘The LORD has not chosen any of these.’ Then Samuel asked, ‘Are these all the sons you have?’
‘There is still the youngest,’ Jesse replied. ‘But he’s out in the fields watching the sheep and goats.’
‘Send for him at once,’ Samuel said. ‘We will not sit down to eat until he arrives.’
So Jesse sent for him. He was dark and handsome, with beautiful eyes.
And the LORD said, ‘This is the one; anoint him.’
So as David stood there among his brothers, Samuel took the flask of olive oil he had brought and anointed David with the oil. And the Spirit of the LORD came powerfully upon David from that day on.” ~ 1 Samuel 16:7-13
First days, then years, then centuries passed. The Word pouring out knowledge and prophecies and mighty works on the children. Yet through times of blessing or exile, turmoil or peace, the children looked for the greatest promise to be fulfilled. Some thought a warrior was needed, others a prophet, others looked for a priest that would right their distorted ways. Then the Word fell silent. Hundreds and hundreds of years of silence. Perhaps the Word was dead. Maybe it had forsaken them completely. Again the children mourned and cried out. But the silence was thick, and surely the darkness thought it had won.
Then God said, “Let there be a girl.”
“Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” ~ Isaiah 7:14
“In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a village in Galilee, to a virgin named Mary. She was engaged to be married to a man named Joseph a descendant of King David. Gabriel appeared to her and said, ‘Greetings, favored woman! The Lord is with you!’
“Mary responded, ‘I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.’ And then the angel left her.” Luke 1:26-28, 38
Then God said, “Go, worship and celebrate. Guide kings to the Word’s cradle. Light the night sky above the shepherds with my glory and tell them the Word sleeps in a lamb’s manger. Stand guard over my little one. The darkness still seeks to destroy. He must be kept until the time is fully come. This is my Son, whom I love. I am well pleased with him.”
“And the Word became flesh and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son.” John 1:14
The featured illustration titled “Nativity” is courtesy of Jordan Durbin, its illustrator. This is a copyrighted artwork and belongs expressly to its creator. Please contact Jordan directly if are interested in acquiring a copy or wish to use it in a publication.
Second-generation homeschooling mom of five wee snickbuzzards, Jordan Durbin is a maker of humble pottery, fine artist, calligrapher, gardener, pickle maker, baker of all things gluten-inclusive and butter-laden, violinist, vocalist, rabbit raiser, wife of one good man, lover of her blessed Redeemer. She has a Bachelor’s degree in fine art from Grace College in Winona Lake, Indiana. She is an avid coffee drinker, reader, and published children’s book author and illustrator. She aspires to proclaim the resurrection with every moment of her life.