I Jesus have sent my angel to testify to you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David…
Stars shine in the darkness. When there is no other light their brightness and beauty cheer us. The stars have always been recognised to be among the loveliest of nature's beauties. When men have sought for the fairest ornaments to adorn the brows of queens and stately ladies, they have tried to make for them stars of gold or gleaming diamonds. And by their steady laws, their regulated movements, the stars act as our guides. Have you ever thought, moreover, how wonderful is the revelation given to us by the stars? If the cloud had never cleared, if men had never seen those lights shining in the far-away distance, how narrow would our ideas have remained! So as we watch the morning star in the pale eastern sky there comes over us a sense of gladness in its beauty, of wonder and awe at the magnificent stellar system to which it belongs, and at the same time a sense of joyful hope in its prophecy that the darkness is passing and the day about to dawn. And "I am," says the Saviour of the world — "I am the Bright and Morning Star."
I. We might think of the precious KNOWLEDGE diffused by Christ's gospel through the world; we might think of the ideal of life presented by the life of Christ — the ideal of a life meek and lowly, loving and tender, gentle and self-sacrificing, and yet brave with unflinching courage, generous with noble self-sacrifice. But as our thoughts at Christmas rather turn to our homes, we may try to see how Christ is there "the Bright and Morning Star." The Christ-light in the home alone can make it happy. The Christ-light, the Lord Himself honoured, the influence of His wishes felt, the restraining power of His teaching moulding the character; tempers subdued for His sake, self-will controlled, self-conceit kept down with a strong hand, angry and harsh-judging words silenced, mutual bearing and forbearing, kindness, courtesy, consideration for others, proceeding from thought of Christ and wish to do His will; these are the things that make the home bright. Even one person in a household, thoroughly influenced by the love of Christ, and walking in the light of His presence, will bring wonderful brightness to a whole family. They hardly know what makes home so pleasant. What is it? It is the light from "the Bright and Morning Star." It glistens in the kind eyes and pleasant countenance of a humble follower of Jesus; and sullenness, gloom, and ill-humour flee before it like shadows before the breaking day. But homes are sometimes darkened by causes over which we seem to have less control — by poverty, sickness, anxiety, sorrow. And the greeting of "Happy Christmas" sometimes comes with a bitter sense of unreality to those who know that food is scanty, or the hearth dark and lonely. Still, there is a power that brings cheer to the poor man's board, and comfort to the mourner's sorrow. When "the Morning Star" shines in the heart, those words are often thought of, "I was hungry, and ye fed Me; thirsty, and ye gave Me drink; sick and in prison, and ye visited Me." And so Christian charity, Christian kindness, Christian sympathy, passes on the light of Christ from home to home.
II. And then our second thought of heavenly Joy applies here. If there is a sorrow too deep to be reached by human kindness, it is not too deep to be reached by the light of the "Morning Star." The revelation of the great unseen realities — is not this the true Light for a shadowed home? A Father in heaven who cares and loves, a Saviour acquainted with grief, a kind Providence which will make all work together for good — is not this revelation like the opening of the shutters of a darkened chamber, so that there streams in the light of the Morning Star — the harbinger of day?
III. And this brings us to our last thought, the "Morning Star" is a star of heavenly HOPE. There are many young and happy hearts at Christmastide. But among them all there are few that have not felt the chill of disappointment, the shadow of doubt and uncertainty from the mystery of life, the solemn darkness of self-reproach and an accusing conscience. The soul is getting farther away from God. Ideas have been entertained, habits have been allowed to grow that have made the gap wider and wider between daily life and the aspirations after goodness that were once felt. The soul is in darkness. Yes, say what we will, the soul must be dark if it is without God. Show me a man who does not know God, who does not care for God, who does not trust and honour the infinite Lord, and I can tell you that whatever be his outward circumstances, his spirit is in awful darkness. On Christmas Day, let any such listen to the words of Jesus — "I am the Bright and Morning Star." Let that Day Star from on high arise and shine in your heart. Christ loves you, and came into the world and lived and died for you. Let His glory enlighten your soul.
Parallel VersesKJV: I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star.