This is one of the important times of the Christian year, the time when we celebrate the first part of the act of Ultimate Love: Jesus coming into the world. Poets and hymn writers have tried to convey what that must have been like, but I think English poet Christina Rossetti said it the simplest way, and the best way: “Love came down at Christmas.” Simple, honest, no further explanation needed.
Other hymns are more complicated. For example, when Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote the words to “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day,” the nation was at the peak of the Civil War, a time that spawned much violence and hatred. Longfellow despaired that the message of love could break through the strong hatred gripping the nation. Though it starts out on a depressing note, it ends on a ray of hope: Even though hatred is strong, God is still in control, and there will still be peace on earth, goodwill to men.
As we head toward an uncertain future, we would all do well to remember this saying: “There are two wolves that are constantly fighting. One is darkness and despair; the other is light and hope. The question is, Which one will win? The one you feed.” We cannot deny that there is darkness out there, but as long as we keep feeding the light and hope we have in Jesus, we may be assured that we will get through the darkness.