Long ago, Isaiah prophesied, “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shined” (Isa. 9:2, ESV). The suffering of Israel is likened to darkness. They lived in the darkness of oppression from their enemies—the Assyrians and Babylonians.
But now they have seen a great light! It is the light of the coming of the Messiah! The coming of Christ is the same as the coming of light!
In similar ways, many Christ-followers are oppressed in Muslim lands today. Take time to read the reports. The picture is alarming. An Iranian pastor is imprisoned for leaving Islam and converting to Christianity. Muslim radicals burn church buildings to the ground in northern Nigeria. It is a crime to convert from Islam to Christianity in most Muslim nations. Many Muslim-background believers are forced to hide their faith for fear of psychological, economic, and social oppression from family and community.
Yet the root cause of religious oppression is the oppression of sin. All kinds of religious, political, and economic oppression, whether across the living room or across the land, is spiritual in nature. It is caused by sin in the human heart. It is caused by Satan. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood but against spiritual forces of the air serving the satanic agenda.
But in the midst of this spiritual darkness is the message of Christmas. It is not the message of materialism, but the message of the Messiah. It is the message of Christ the Lord, who saves His people from their sin. Christmas is the coming of the light of Christ in a dark world. When He comes again, the light of His kingdom rule shall shine forth throughout all the earth.