This is an excerpt from “12 Days of Christmas Carols,” a devotional which unpacks lines of familiar Christmas carols you’ve sung for years but perhaps have never really thought about.
“But for you who fear my name, the sun of righteousness shall rise with healing in its wings” (Malachi 4:2). With this final messianic prophecy, the curtain closes on the Old Testament, and all creation holds its breath, waiting for the Christ to arrive.
400 years later, the exhale finally comes, as the sun of righteousness breaks over the horizon of this darkened world with light and life and healing. Nothing will be the same now. History splits in two with the coming of the King. The long night of exile draws to a close, as God returns to his temple.
The story of righteousness and healing unfolds in dramatic fashion. The sun of righteousness doesn’t crack the skies as you might expect, but instead lies in a lowly manger, attended by shepherds and day laborers. Decades later, healing for this sin-sick world shines as the sun is eclipsed behind a storm of judgment and the King expires on the cross. And then the sun of righteousness rises, breaking Death’s neck under his feet as he triumphantly strides out of the graveyard.
Charles Wesley captured the drama of the gospel story in the third verse of “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing”:
Hail the heaven-born Prince of Peace!
Hail the Sun of Righteousness!
Light and life to all He brings
Risen with healing in His wings
The sun has risen, light has dawned, and darkness is being scattered. Glory to the newborn King!