On the first Christmas a shining light startled the shepherds as they were watching their sheep. The angels appeared and an encouraging word of hope was spoken to them. These shepherds then quickly left their sheep to find the promised Christ child. The Maggi saw a new star in the night sky which seemed to be moving towards the west. Realizing that the star was indicative of something important that was coming, they followed the direction of that star hoping to find a new born king. During the Christmas season, there is a focus upon following the star, trusting that a promise of something better would be ahead of us. The shepherds left their sheep, their jobs, the Maggi left their homeland. Both groups needed to travel to what seemed like something worth travelling for.
During the Christmas season many have hopes of something better, we look for a glimmer of light to shine into the darkness that is needed in and around us. But for today, Christmas is over. If we were to go to Bethlehem we would find that the manger is empty, there is no baby in the stall.
If we looked into the night sky tonight, we would see that there is no new star shining, there is no shining light leading us to hope, no new political leader is promised. Christmas Day might have been encouraging, there might have been the exchanging of gifts, the eating of food, perhaps the gathering of friends and family, but Christmas Day is over. A certain hopelessness can settle in as we see ourselves back to the same old situations, the same old life, having to wait for another year till the hope of the next Christmas comes.
In our lives we long for the bright, shining start of Christmas to bring hope and encouragement to us, yet many times we do not see that star shining in the night and the manger looks empty to us. It is unfortunate that we look for external things to bring hope and change to our lives. The Bible tells us in John 1:9 that Jesus is “the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world.” Jesus Himself speaks in John 8:12 that “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” The light, the hope that we need to follow is not just a star in the sky, a light at the end of a dark tunnel, nor a child in a manger. The light in the midst of darkness, the hope in the midst of confusion, the love in the midst of fear, must come from Jesus Christ shining into our lives. Jesus speaks in the book of Revelation chapter 22 verse 16 saying, “I am the Bright and Morning Star.”
The phrase “Bright and Morning Star”, in a natural sense, refers to the brightest of stars that shines just after the longest and darkest season of the night. It shines just before the dawn of a new day. Jesus says that He is that one that will shine in the darkest season of our lives, bringing His hope and encouragement and life to us. However, this light is not to shine from the outside situations but rather from within in our lives. 2 Peter 2:19 tells us that Jesus is the morning star that rises in your hearts.
We may be looking for outward changes, but God is wanting us to invite Jesus into our lives and then let Him rise from our hearts, bringing His hope and perspective. Hope that is based upon; His Word being true, His promises of forgiveness, Him always being with us, Him always loving us and us having a blessed eternity with Him in heaven.
Take some time to reflect upon how our Lord Jesus wants to shine in your heart.