Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. - Psalm 23:4

Imagine walking through a deep valley in the wilderness, surrounded by thick darkness. It’d be hard not to be afraid. Danger could be lurking around any corner. Wild animals or robbers might attack at any minute. This is the scene King David described when he wrote this psalm. Despite his circumstances, David trusted in the providential guidance and protection of the LORD, his shepherd. He didn’t have to fear any evil, because he leaned into the security of God’s reassuring, comforting presence.

These are words that may well have been on Jesus’s mind as he hung on the cross. He trusted in the guidance of the LORD as he faced certain death. He died, was buried, and was raised again on the third day. He remained dead for three days before bursting forth from the grave. Christ, as the God-Man, vanquished the power of death. Because of Christ, death is not final. It’s a passage from this world to the next.

Christmas comes at the darkest time of the year. And for many, it brings with it a complicated set of challenging emotions. Joys and sorrows. Sometimes nostalgia hits and we long for years gone by, reflecting on those who are no longer with us. But take heart: those who died in faith are now with Christ. As Christmas draws near, remember that Jesus, the Good Shepherd, is providentially guiding the path of all of his sheep into the house of the LORD forever.

Song: While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks