Light, salvation and peace were to accompany the coming of Jesus, according to Isaiah, Jeremiah, Zechariah, Simeon, and the angels appearing to the shepherds.
Zechariah, father of John the Baptist, after proclaiming that John would be called “prophet of the most high,” said “the rising sun will come to us from heaven to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death.” Simeon, who was in the temple at the presentation of Jesus by Mary and Joseph, declared that Jesus would be “a light for revelation to the Gentiles,” echoing the words of Isaiah.
Zechariah said that John, in preparing the way for Jesus, would give people “the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins.” Simeon said, “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you may now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation.” Centuries earlier Jeremiah predicted that God would make a new covenant involving the forgiveness of sins, “For I will forgive their wickedness and remember their sins no more.” On the evening of Jesus’ birth, the angels declared to the shepherds, “Today in the City of David a savior has been born for you who is Messiah and Lord.” And, the very name of Jesus means, “The Lord saves.”
The angels also declared, “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” Isaiah called him the “Prince of Peace.”
In the cosmic battle of good versus evil, and God versus Satan, God moves in an entirely unexpected way in becoming one of his created in the person of Jesus, to lead his human creation back from destruction and death, to life and God’s presence.
The religious leaders of Jesus’ day never expected God to act in this way. A king would never be born in a cave in the presence of animals with a feeding trough for a crib. The innkeeper who turned Joseph away certainly did not recognize that he was denying a room to the “King of Kings” and the “Lord of Lords.”
The coming of Jesus brings us the light of his revelation and truth to overcome the darkness and errant ways of the world. He brings us salvation through the forgiveness of sins. He brings us the peace that passes all understanding if we trust in his care and provision.
On the eve of the celebration of his birth, the world slows down, his peace descends, “all is calm; all is bright.” The Holy Spirit brings quiet; the night is silent. Goodness (God) prevails.