It might be a little bit cheesy, but the Christmas song “In the Bleak Midwinter” keeps running through my head these days. Not that it’s a cheesy song, but the only reason it’s in my head is because this winter feels bleak. When I think of the word bleak, I think of words like miserable, dark, and with no end in sight. The cold is miserable, the growing snow piles next to my driveway are casting darker shadows, and our local meteorologists are watching the record books to see how close we can get to the record for the longest stretch of freezing temperatures.
The good news: this bleak winter will come to an end! Every day, that sun creeps a little bit higher into the sky, and even though we don’t know when spring will come, we know it will come soon!
In all seriousness, the lyrics to that beautiful song are quite fascinating. They come from a poem written by Christina Rossetti. If you like poetry, I encourage you to look up the poem. In the second verse, she describes how even though we have a God bigger than the heavens and the earth, on that bleak midwinter night, a stable was sufficient for the Lord God Almighty. In the third verse, the stable animals were enough for the One before whom angels fall down in worship. In the fourth verse, even though angels and archangels were gathered there, only “His mother in her maiden bliss, worshipped the Beloved with a kiss.”
Those are some striking contrasts between the power and the humility of the incarnation. What looked so humble and meager on that dark winter night was the most significant birth this world will ever see. The Son of God, the Creator of the Universe, was entering this world as a baby.
Roughly 33 years later, that baby who grew to be a man, humbly marched down the darkest path a human has to walk, the path to death. On that bleak Friday, the Son of God died a most humble death as He took on the dark stain of your sin and my sin. He suffered the consequence of our sin and bore the punishment that we deserve. He went to the grave.
But what looked so dark and humble and bleak was actually the most powerful act of salvation the world will ever see.
That bleak Friday was a Good Friday.
The grave didn’t hold Him.
Sunday came. And it was glorious.
No matter the darkness we encounter, “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” (John 1:5). Jesus is the Light of the World, and He says, “Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12). There is no darkness in this world that the light of Christ cannot penetrate, and that’s exactly what He does as we hear and receive His Word by grace through faith!
We begin our annual Lenten march to the cross this month. Join us on Wednesdays as we journey to the cross through the book of John. We are serving soup suppers at 5:45PM each Wednesday before the service. Please come and enjoy that rich time of fellowship too!
And as we make this journey, let’s keep our eyes ultimately on that empty tomb and the light and life that He shines into our lives. I’m excited for Easter already, and I’m even more excited for when the Light of the World comes back and puts an end to darkness forever. Lord come quickly!