. . . because of the tender mercy of our God, whereby the sunrise shall visit us from on high to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.
When our first parents committed high treason, seeking independence from their Maker, they rejected “the light of men” (John 1:4). They had been created to live in God’s light, having sweet fellowship with Him. After they had sinned, darkness and death entered their existence and experience, exercising its power. Things would even get worse and worse.
Not long thereafter we read: “The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Gen. 6:5). Man’s sins deserved God’s righteousness judgment, which is still true today.
God’s grace, however, would prevail. God had promised a victorious Savior who would redeem, reconcile, and restore man to his original state. When Jesus was born, the dawn had arrived. When we watch a sunrise, we can see its light beams announcing its arrival. The same is true from God’s first promise about Jesus till His actual birth. The Old Testament is full of Jesus’ light beams, proclaiming His appearance, which is fully grounded in God’s tender mercy.
Sin had forever abolished any right or entitlement to God’s favor. If God were to show any favor, it would be solely because of His tender mercy. Thankfully, His mercy entered our world and prevailed over all sin, darkness, and death. Jesus “abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel” (2 Tim. 1:10). His Light conquered our darkness!
No matter how good and glorious our earthly life may appear, death is always a present reality, whether we realize that or not. Christmas is the celebration that God brought light and life into our darkness and death. Jesus came to reconcile us to our Maker. He came to “guide our feet into the way of peace”—peace with God and peace with one another. This is all “because of the tender mercy of our God.”
The Devotional Writer