Midnight receives no mention in the gospel account, but instead, “the night watch”(Lk 2:8). It was the time after sunset and before sunrise, the late-night hours, a time of absolute darkness.
The darkness of the midnight hour is not only the lack of daylight, it also holds great symbolic importance. Darkness reveals sin and the absence of God. “People preferred darkness because their works were evil” (Jn 3:19). “Everyone who does wicked things hates the light …so that his works might not be known” (Jn 3:20). Evil thoughts are dark thinking (Mt 6:23; Lk 11:34). Evil deeds are done under the cover of darkness. When Judas left the Last Supper room to betray Jesus, “it was night” (Jn 13:30). Jesus described that “whoever walks in the dark does not know where he is going” (Jn 12:35). Darkness is to walk in the wrong direction and to stumble and fall.
Police have a saying: “Nothing good occurs after midnight.” Late night is the time that most crimes are committed: drunkenness, bar fights, shootings, domestic assaults, robberies, driving while intoxicated, speeding and reckless driving and car crashes as a result of impaired judgment.
Immoral behavior is always committed under the cover of darkness.
The infant Jesus was born during the night watch, at the time when the darkness is most intense. The timing was no accident. Jesus is the Light of World (Jn 8:12). When Jesus was born, he was the true light coming into the world (Jn 1:9; see also Jn 3:19a). He is “the light [that] shines in the darkness” (Jn 1:5a). Jesus described, “I came into the world as light so that everyone who believes in me might not remain in the darkness” (Jn 12:46).
Christmas is a time of great hope. The light has come. Jesus is the tremendous illuminator. He is a beacon of light. No matter whatever darkness there may be in the world, it will not conquer. “The darkness has not overcome it” (Jn 1:5b), not in the past, not now, not in the future, not ever.
Jesus was born at midnight to bring light into our troubled world. His light is so great that it outshines all else.