For thirty seven years I have traveled on what I like to call the “dark Christmas Roads”. Christmas Eve services sometimes in snow storms and Christmas mornings that begin in the dark are measures of time and distance but also of the spirit of the season. Someone has said that it is always darkest before the dawn and I can tell you that is true. There is no dark like the dark just before Christmas dawn. I have seen some interesting things on these journeys to worship. Eyes in the dark that seemed to wait until I reached a certain point in the road to come and join me on the highway. I came to a full stop and watched as eight deer shambled off into the deep woods as if they had all the time in the world. I have seen falling stars and beautiful lights reflecting on the low clouds that showed where small towns still had their Christmas lights glowing. I have seen Sirius and Procyon, and the moon with golden halos.
Dark Christmas roads are evocative of ancient words and ancient promises. Those in darkness seeing great lights and those walking in the shadow of death having light shined on them and for them. God’s word is described as a lamp and a light to help find our way through the dark roads.
Dark roads are evocative because I love them. I look forward to those travels in the dark. Jesus says something that should give us pause. He says to Nicodemus who came to Him by night, in the dark – 17For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. 18He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. 21But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.
I love the dark Christmas roads because I am going to proclaim the light. I love the dark Christmas roads because the light dawns over them as well. Some like the dark roads because they like the dark for darkness sake. That is why Luther described a Christian as someone who has run out of a dark house into the light. We run on those dark roads because we know the light is coming and we have seen it in the face of a child in a manger, and a broken body on a cross, and a victorious Savior bursting from a grave.
You may be on a dark road in this season of light. We all go down them. Some because we like the darkness and others because we have seen the light and know that it is on this road that we find it. So blessed Christmas to all wherever you may be.