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Christ the Dayspring

“Through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the dayspring from on high hath visited us, To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.” Luke 1:78-79

It is so dark. And each day it grows darker. If the sun doesn’t reverse its course, we will be covered in a thick darkness. The darkness will usher in a deep chill. A chill that will turn our fertile farm lands into barren ground. Our neighborhoods will turn to ghost towns as people leave in search for a warmer climate. In December, more than any other month, we are in need of a sunrise. Every sunrise chases off the blackness of night. The chill of the morning loses its advantage when the sun rises. Darkness and chill cannot raise their fist in opposition to a sunrise. Without a fight, they flee. Our sun produces more energy in one second than mankind has used in all of history. The power released by our sun is beyond our comprehension. Yet, the effect of this power is felt every day. We draw on its power moment by moment. By it, our earth is warmed, plants are nourished and life is supported. Light and heat have always been on the frontier of scientific study. The sun, in one sense, is as close to a super natural phenomenon as you can find in our natural world.

The world that Zacharias lived in was dark. The darkness that blanketed the earth then was not a result of the solar sun refusing to shine. However, the chill was every bit as severe. In addition, the plight was worse. It had been 400 years since Malachi spoke the Word of the Lord. Stories of God’s interaction with His people were turning into legend. Legend was turning into fairy tale. God was not in their midst as He had been in ages past. The sin of the people brought about a separation that left them in a desperate state of loss. It sent them on a trajectory of no hope. In a moment of prophetic clarity, Zacharias prophesied of the sunrise that would reverse the course of events. His son’s (John the Baptist) charge was to prepare the people for this coming sunrise.

“The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. And theglory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it.” Isa 40:3, 5

Jesus was the “dayspring” of the ages. At a time when Israel wondered if God remembered them, God proved His “tender mercy” through this sunrise. The uncreated, supernatural would condescend Himself to the created natural man by coming down from “on high”. Furthermore, this sunrise was going to be for all those that sit in darkness. Instead of the threat of death, a way of peace would be illuminated.

We celebrate the coming of Christ at the darkest, coldest season of the year. We work hard to stave off this frost. Every day, we come face to face with the reality of darkness and chill. Every day we find salvation in light and heat. This Christmas season, may we use these realities as a reminder of the real blackness that has settled upon us. The blackness of sin and its effects put us on the needy end of salvation. The solution to this shadow is beyond us. We cannot reverse the condemnation of this broken world. We are in need of a sunrise and the sunrise has come. The sunrise is Jesus.

To gain the full benefit of Christ’s sunrise, we need to realize our need and turn toward Him. This repentance allows His light and heat to do all the work necessary to chase away the darkness and thaw the chill.

“Turn us again, O God, and cause thy face to shine; and we shall be saved.” Ps 80:3

John the Baptist was sent to prepare the way for the Lord. He was sent into the morning shadows just before daybreak. “A sunrise is coming!” was his message. “Turn toward this sunrise and prepare yourselves.” He announced this sunrise by crying the following declarations:

  • That the hearts of fathers would be turned towards their children. Luke 1:17
  • That the people would know of the coming salvation through forgiveness of sins. Luke 1:77
  • That our lives are brief, but the Word of God is eternal. Isaiah 40:7,8
  • That God is mighty. Isaiah 40:9,10
  • That God is coming to gather, carry, and gently lead His people. Isaiah 40:11
  • That repentance is needed for the kingdom of Heaven is at hand. Matthew 3:2

Today we find ourselves just before the morning light. The eastern sky is being illuminated. Another sunrise is on the horizon. Like all sunrises do, this sunrise will have far reaching effects. Christ’s second coming will usher in a new age. It will conquer darkness and chill forever. May we, as John, prepare the way of the LORD and make straight a highway for our God.