Click HERE to read Christmas Light–Part 1.
LIGHT and life
Where God brings light, he also brings life. The relationship between light and life makes sense to us from the natural world: plants must have sunlight to live. And those winter blues? Your body misses the light of the sun and all of the goodness sunrays bring to us. We need light to thrive physically and it is the same for our souls. “For with You is the fountain of life, in Your light we see light” (Ps. 36:9). A fountain speaks to me of overflowing and abundant life, and this we find in God’s light.
Jesus is the True Light who brings life to our souls. “In Him [Jesus] was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it” (Jn. 1:4-5). In the darkness, we are deceived into believing we’re alive when we’re actually groping about blindly, striving in vain to manage and produce and survive. All the while, God is calling to us from His position of light: Come to Me and find life! There He is, shining and patiently waiting for us. We must decide to turn toward Him, step away from our darkness, step into His light and choose true life.
Christmas is about the Light: “our Savior, Jesus Christ, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel” (2 Tim. 1:10, emphasis mine).
Oh come, let us live in the Light.
LIGHT of I Am
In the Gospel of John, Jesus makes seven important “I Am” statements about Himself. One of those statements is about light: “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows Me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (Jn. 8:12). Jesus called Himself a light for the whole world. And if we choose to follow Him, we n-e-v-e-r walk in darkness again. We don’t need to fear the darkness. We don’t need to succumb to the darkness. We don’t need to return to the darkness. The light of Jesus brings life to every part of our souls.
Sometimes I imagine what it might have been like for Jesus’ Jewish listeners to hear Him say: “I am the light of the world.” Did they immediately think back to the days of Moses when Yahweh gave His name: “I AM WHO I AM” (Ex. 3:14)? Now here in front of them stands a carpenter man who also says: “I am.” Astounding and unthinkable! Or perhaps did they remember an old prophecy Isaiah spoke of a light coming into the world to overcome darkness? “Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you. See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the Lord rises upon you and His glory appears over you” (Is. 60:1-2). Now here stands a man from Nazareth–could Jesus be saying He is the promised light? Could He be the Lord rising upon them and the glory of the Lord appearing to them?
Yes, indeed He was, and He is. Jesus is “the radiance of God’s glory” (Heb. 1:3)–a glorious light come to light up the world.
Oh come, let us follow the light.
LIGHT of salvation
There was a man who lived in Jerusalem named Simeon who loved God. When he saw baby Jesus at the temple, he took Jesus “in his arms and praised God, saying: ‘For my eyes have seen Your salvation, which You have prepared in the sight of all the people, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory for Your people Israel’” (Lk. 2:28-32). Jesus is our salvation, belonging first to the Jew but also a revealing light shared with the Gentile. A Gentile is any non-Jewish person and they too are welcomed into the gospel story by the great love of God for all people.
Just as we give and receive gifts at Christmastime, salvation is a gift freely offered to all. But it must be received: taken, accepted, held close, opened. “The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world” (Jn. 1:9) but not everyone wants to look to the light or receive the light. Yet still, God waits patiently and He invites all peoples, all nations to come to His light. “Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn” (Is. 60:3). What a marvelous and generous God to offer His light to all mankind! This light is found in the person of Jesus Christ and is our salvation. “The Lord is my light and my salvation–whom shall I fear?” (Ps. 27:1).
After Simeon finished speaking about the baby, “the child’s father and mother marveled at what was said about him” (Lk. 2:33). May we too behold Jesus and marvel this Christmas.
Oh come, let us receive the light.
LIGHT for eternity
the dawn of salvation beginning to breakAway in a Manger, Phil Wickham (listen here)
Christmas is the Light of the world, come to His world. What started as just a glimmer of light in Bethlehem has been increasing for 2000+ years. In the end, it will be an overwhelming light to illume the universe. In eternity “there will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light” (Rev. 22:5).
Christmas is the beginning of the end of darkness. “The way of the wicked is like deep darkness; they do not know what makes them stumble. [But] the path of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, shining ever brighter till the full light of day” (Prov. 4:19, then 18). The culminating day of full light is not yet here, but it is on the way!
Christmas is hope. Hope that the darkness will someday end. Hope that Jesus did come to save and will come again for our final rescue. Hope that someday darkness will be defeated for good, and Light will reign for eternity. Hope that the light He brings to our hearts today will continue to shine brighter and brighter until we see the Glorious Light face to face.
May God keep the hope of Christmas Light alive in our hearts. In the beginning, He said: “Let there be light.” And at the end, Revelation says God Himself will be our light: “The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp. The nations will walk by its light” (21:23-24).
Oh come, let us worship the Light.
PS: Christmas photos from my dear friend, Christina Schenke.