(Jon Bloom is an editor at www.desiringgod.org)
Bethlehem, at the time of Jesus’s birth, was a little town with a population of only about three hundred. Yet within a period of just a few months, it saw the gloriously humble entrance of God the Son into the world (Luke 2), as well as the brutal deaths of baby boys by the command of Herod the Great, who tried to kill the Son (Matthew 2). It’s not unlikely that a few inhabitants witnessed both events firsthand.
We too are caught in a "cosmic crossfire" at Christmas. We experience both “joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory” (1 Peter 1:8), as well as burdens so great we despair of life itself (2 Corinthians 1:8). Both are beyond our powers to comprehend because there is so much more going on in reality than we can yet understand.
When the deep darkness falls and never seems like it will ever lift again, that’s when we must pray for strength to comprehend what is beyond us (Ephesians 3:18), and trust in the Lord’s promises, not the way things appear to us (Proverbs 3:5). For this is what Christmas is all about: “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” (John 1:5).
No matter how dark the current chapter, all our stories in this age will end in everlasting joy in the omnipotent Light that shone first from the little town of Bethlehem.