On the night before Christmas, all our children would sleep in the basement. It was a Christmas Eve sibling slumber party.

Early Christmas morning they would call out from the bottom of the stairs... “Is it time yet?” My wife and I would call back… “Not yet!” As the anticipation built, the desperation in the question increased each time it was asked… “Is it time YET?!?”

Finally it was time, and they would stampede up the stairs to begin our celebration.

The faithful remnant among God’s people cried out, “Is it time yet?” Where is the Savior, the Deliverer, God promised?

Four hundred years of silence separates the last words of the prophet Malachi and the first events of the Gospels. In your Bible it may look like a simple turn of the page from the Old Testament to the New. Yet in that small span passed the Persians, the Greeks, the Assyrians, the Maccabees, and the Romans. And through the centuries God’s people asked, “Is it time yet?”

Defeated militarily. Dispersed geographically. Discouraged nationally. Drifting spiritually. In the darkness of that long silence even the most faithful must have wondered at times, “Does God still care?” “Does He hear me?” “Why doesn’t He act?”

Is the darkness deep, and has the silence been long for you? It may be a relationship that won’t heal. It may be a pain that won’t stop. It may be a budget that won’t balance. It may be a prayer that seems to just bounce off the ceiling and back into your face. Does God still care?

Does He hear me? Why doesn’t He act?

From the 400 year long night before the first Christmas, we learn important truths.

In the silence, God is still at work. In those 400 years God moved empires and arranged the world stage for the arrival of His Son, Jesus. Trust that God is at work in your life and in your world in ways that you may not recognize yet.

In the silence, God still cares. He sees. He hears. He cares. God may feel far away, but He has not moved. His love for you has not changed.

In the silence, God still keeps His promises. Jesus was born from the line of David, in the village of Bethlehem, to a virgin just as God had promised. God’s promises to you and me are just as real and trustworthy.

In Luke Chapter 1, the silence is broken and a light pierces the darkness. Referring to Jesus it says, “…the Rising Sun will come to us from heaven to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the path of peace.”

Our world can be a very dark place. The horrific killings in Connecticut are evidence of that reality. Dear people now living in darkness and the shadow of death. Anger and grief and questions fill their hearts. Our prayers and thoughts are with them.  May they embrace the warmth of Jesus, the Rising Sun. May His light pierce their darkness. May He lead them into peace.

Our prayer for you as well, if you are passing through the silent darkness, is that you will find in Jesus the light and the peace you need. Keep walking. Keep trusting. Keep loving.

And may God’s light shine in all of our hearts that we may come to know Him through His Son, Jesus, our Savior and Lord.

“For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.’ ” 2 Corinthians 4:6.