Few sites seem more calmly beautiful to me than a slowly creeping sunrise as the orange hues of light push away the blacks and blues of night. As I watch this morning’s sun rise on Christmas Eve, I can’t help but wonder about the sunrise for Mary and Joseph that day two thousand years ago. Was the first Christmas Eve rainy? Colder than normal? Hot and muggy? Was it dreary? Were they still traveling that morning or had they already arrived in Bethlehem? Were they awakened both by the creeping sun and the bustle of animals around the stable? Whatever the conditions of that morning before Jesus’ birth, their day must have been a conglomeration of anticipation and anxiousness. Dread and delight. Without family and close friends around and comforted only by a stable full of stranger’s animals, Joseph and Mary settled in for the birth that would change the world.
The sun rose that day. It also rose the next day, the first morning that our Savior breathed in air into his tiny lungs. The sun would follow suit bowing down each evening and rising up every morning throughout Jesus’ life. At the cross, the sun would hide its brilliance in Jesus’ sacrificial moments of death. But the sun would rise again.
Three days later, the Son and the sun would rise. Oh, my mind wonders yet again, what was that sunrise like on that day of resurrection? No matter. The same sovereign power that guides the sun every day brought up the Son of God from the grave.
The sun rises. It’s like clockwork. It’s Designer set it that way. Right now, through my window, I’m watching the hues brightening, turning the blackened silhouettes of the trees outside into their natural browns and grays. The sun will rise on Christmas Day tomorrow as well. There’s such hope in looking to the stabilizing routine of the Creator’s handiwork. His patterned control of the sun reminds me this morning that there’s not one single event happening in this world He created that’s not under His calm, guiding power. I’m pulled to the words describing Jesus, the one born in that bustling stable, from Colossians 1:15-17,
15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. 17 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.
The sun rises because Jesus holds all things together. The rain falls because Jesus holds all things together. Life twists and turns, but Jesus still holds all things together. The calming rhythm He’s set in motion to guide the sun also rules every single moment you will experience today…and tomorrow. Please don’t forget that. The sun rises. He’s made sure of it.
That’s one gift I’m certainly grateful for this Christmas!