On the night Jesus was born, the world was living at midnight with no stars in the sky. It certainly did not seem holy to most of the people in Bethlehem, but hope has a way of springing up in the most unusual places and amongst the most unlikely people. Some of the prophets of old had spoken of a baby coming that would change the world and of a people who were walking in darkness needing a great light.
Most bible scholars believe Jesus was born at night, possibly in a dark cave or grotto. Darkness certainly was the prevailing theme of the birth story. There were shepherds guarding their flocks at night when suddenly the glory of the Lord appeared, and they were terrified. It seems they were more comfortable living at night, alone in the shadows, than being surprised by angels and bright lights.
Most of our world is living right now at midnight with no stars in the sky; certainly there is very little reason for many people to have hope. Syrian refugees are fleeing the rubble of their neighborhoods hoping to find safety. Many of the people right here in our community are struggling to get through the holidays despite deafening depression or addictions. Maybe you are walking in darkness, hoping to find your way through life. You are living at midnight, with no stars in the sky. It always seems to be winter, but never Christmas.
Jesus came into the world as a light to all humanity, proclaiming freedom from oppression to anyone who would believe and follow him. His message of peace was and is the most radical proclamation in human history.
Jesus came as a baby, vulnerable, small, placing his life into the hands of two people who were not ready to be parents. Very few of us seem ready for Jesus when he arrives. He comes to us anyway, asking if we will receive him. Joseph and Mary both had a choice. They could have rejected the angels and lived their lives safely in Nazareth. Instead, they believed!
Joy to the world, the Lord is come! Let Earth receive her king. Let every heart, prepare him room.