From the rainbow to the manger
In the Old Testament, God’s everlasting promise was made to all through the rainbow as shown to Noah, but the fulfillment of His promises came in a manger through Jesus, as God came to live among us. This is the whole meaning of Christmas, as Jesus is the central part of the puzzle: He who was, who is and who is to come is the reason for this season.
As we often start the Advent season with Jesus’ birth, it’s easy to forget, or take for granted, what came before Jesus was placed in the manger. But, God’s story of Christmas was never meant to sit apart from the larger story of God’s love and our salvation, which flows right through the Bible with whispers of Jesus on every page. God’s promise is a story we are part of, and therefore, there should be great significance placed on understanding His larger story of our salvation, and what that means as we celebrate Christmas.
Going back to the story of Noah, God made an everlasting covenant to all living beings displayed in the glory of the rainbow. And then, in Jesus, came the glorious fulfillment of God’s prophetic voice. (Read Genesis 9.12-17 and Luke 2.28-32).
At first glance the ark and the stable may not seem to have much in common, but as part of God’s larger story, these sit comfortably together. In Genesis, God revealed His love in the everlasting covenant of hope, signified in the radiance of a rainbow, which we still see today. And in Luke, God’s promise for our salvation was embodied in Jesus, the radiance of heaven who came as the Light of the world, who we still celebrate today. Immanuel, God with us.
While doing some research on the internet, it was interesting to find out that white light is made up from a mixture of all visible colours. Then rainbows appear because water droplets reflect the white light, breaking them down into the seven colours of the spectrum; red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet. So, the source of all colours in the rainbow is the white light of sunlight.
The rainbow was God’s everlasting promise of hope for all, and then one day, over 2,000 years ago, the Son of God fulfilled the Promise. The Light of the World was born in a manger that first Christmas; the Son of God was His larger plan of salvation. However, Jesus did not remain a baby in a cradle, He died the Saviour on a cross, reflecting the radiance of Christmas by fulfilling the promise of God. Jesus, the Light of the World, radiates the prophetic meaning held deep within those colours God displays in the rainbow.
For example, blue prophetically represents; truth, purity, protection, communion with God, His Heavenly Love, and holiness in God’s service. Orange is a bold colour, prophetically meaning perseverance, change, courage and strength. Yellow prophetically stands for gifts and hope, faithfulness and insight. Green represents nature, new growth and new life as offered to all, by the Lamb of God. Just think of Psalm 23, God is our Great Shepherd and leads us in green pastures of rest and peace, and the message of Christmas is peace and goodwill to all. Evergreen in creation speaks of eternal life, and the fresh green spring buds show signs of new life. So, Christmas reminds us that Jesus came so we could have new life in Him as our Lord and Saviour. Red, Indigo, and Violet were expensive coloured materials to buy in Jesus’ day, because they didn’t fade quickly, and after 2,000 years the message of Christmas has not faded. It is still as rich in meaning and exciting as it ever was. Red stands for anointing and wisdom, the indigo and violet tones stand for authority. And, it’s no surprise there are seven colours in the rainbow, because seven in the Bible, is the number of God’s perfection and completeness.
God’s promises in the Bible, show us that Christmas is characterised in the whole spectrum of the rainbow, and now, as seen through God’s perfect way, the Light of the World and His Name is Jesus.
Father God, in the Christmas story we recognise Your great exchange, when You gave Your life in heaven for our eternal future to be with You there. You knew the cost of Christmas and yet, embraced it, so we could embrace You. As we celebrate this year, never let us forget the meaning of this season, that we can be forgiven, healed, and set free because of Your Love, which came down at Christmas. Help us to understand the significance of Christmas with receptive hearts, as we consider once again the genuine message of our salvation through Jesus Christ our Saviour, amen.