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This year, I’ve been made more aware of Jesus as Light. When He came to earth as a baby, as a man, as God, as Immanuel, He came to bring light to the darkness.

Because of our God’s merciful compassion,
the Dawn from on high will visit us
to shine on those who live in darkness
and the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the way of peace.
Luke 1:78-79

Every year now, it seems, we write about how desperate and dark our world is around Christmastime. We talk of terror and hurt and brokenness and hopelessness and evil. “In His name all oppression shall cease” becomes our cry. “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” our prayer. Maybe it’s the cold or the actual, physical darkness created by solstices and earth rotation patterns, or maybe it’s just how the world is. Dark, terrifying, painful. Christmas seems like an odd time to talk about darkness, and yet, I’m starting to think darkness may be the most Christmasy thing we can talk about.

When the darkness began, we were given a promise that one day it would end. And that, Charlie Brown, is what Christmas is all about.

I’ve turned to Psalm 89 a couple of times this Christmas season after a pastor mentioned it the first week of Advent. Psalm 89 is a prayer in the midst of darkness. It is a cry for hope.

What I love about this psalm is that it begins with praise.

I will sing about the Lord’s faithful love forever;
I will proclaim Your faithfulness to all generations
with my mouth.

The first 37 verses are a testimony to God’s mightiness and faithfulness and steadfast love and a covenant He made with David. The psalmist even quotes God a few times.

The Lord said,
“I have made a covenant with My chosen one;
I have sworn an oath to David My servant:
‘I will establish your offspring forever
and build up your throne for all generations.’”
vv. 3-4

The MVP word in this psalm is “faithfulness.” It comes up again and again, as if the psalmist is reminding God, the people, and himself that God is faithful. What He says is true. He keeps His promises.

I’m not sure when this psalm was written (possibly during the reign of David or Solomon), but it is likely it was sung in the time of the exile or perhaps other crises for God’s people. I love psalms like this. The rawness of them reminds me of my own prayers, pleas to God mixed with appeals to His character—faithfulness, love, greatness.

After the psalmist remembers God’s faithfulness and promises he wonders why it does not seem like God is keeping His promises.

You have repudiated the covenant with Your servant;
You have completely dishonored his crown.
v. 39

It is clear from the rest of Scripture that God did not renounce His covenant with David. Both Matthew 1 and Luke 3 trace Jesus’ ancestry back to David—God will establish David’s offspring forever. But the psalmist didn’t have the genealogy of Jesus at a glance. From his vantage point, things looked dark. He could not see how God could possibly be fulfilling His promise to David. It didn’t look or feel like God was being faithful at that time.

Then we get to the last seven verses of Psalm 89 and they are heart wrenching. The psalmist is in the dark. He is in the middle of the brokenness and the cold and the hurt and the fear. And he cries out to the God he knows is faithful.

How long, Lord? Will You hide Yourself forever?
v. 46a

Lord, where are the former acts of Your faithful love
that You swore to David in Your faithfulness?
v. 49

Last week the electricity in my house was out. It was out on my entire street (apparently, we’re located at a weak spot in the power grid, so this happens not infrequently). I came home after work to a dark house. I literally could not see without the help of my iPhone flashlight. I lit the candles I had out for Christmas decorations and things weren’t as dark. Those little candles pushed back on the darkness and helped me to see. The darkness was still there. The rest of my house, the rest of my street, still lived in the darkness. But where the half-dozen small candles were, I could see.

Christmas is the fulfillment of Psalm 89. Christmas is the answer to the questions the psalmist cries out in desperation. Hundreds of years after the psalmist penned those words, hundreds of years after God’s people sang them in hard times, God said, “Here is my promised fulfilled” and sent His Son. His Son, from the line of David, from the seed of Abraham, came to rule over us and establish us as heirs to the throne. Jesus is fulfillment of the covenant.

In the darkness that is December and our world, Jesus came so we might have light. Jesus came so we could see God’s faithfulness and God’s steadfast love. Christmas is all about Light coming into darkness. Christmas proves God’s faithfulness.

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