The old Christmas song goes “It’s the most wonderful time of the year.” I think the lyrics could also read, “It’s the most beautiful time of the year.”
I love how everything in our culture changes around Christmas. I love walking into a home, a church (especially our church), or even an office building that’s decorated for the season. I love the familiar music that plays on the radio and in department stores. And although it never happens in the south, there’s something stunning about watching snow lay a fresh blanket of white over the ground.
My favorite part of the season are the lights – lights on trees, lights on homes, candles in advent wreaths, and so much more. As I write this I’m sitting in the glow of our Christmas tree. I can’t walk into the house without immediately turning the tree lights on, even if it’s the middle of the day.
I find the glow of a Christmas tree to be calming. I find the flicker of a candle to be mesmerizing. I love the lights of Christmas.
And if your anything like me, it’s easy to get caught up with all of the preparation and celebration of Christmas and often forget that the decorative lights of Christmas are merely pointers to the true light of Christmas.
Isaiah 9, a passage foreshadowing the coming of Christ, reads, “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned. (v2)”
The imagery of this verse is vivid and powerful. It calls to mind the image of walking in a long and dark winding tunnel. So dark that you can barely see your hand in front of your face. As you make your way through the tunnel you hug the wall in order to get your bearing. The longer you are in the tunnel fear and anxiety grow. You don’t know what potential dangers are around you. You hear different sounds but don’t know what’s making those sounds. Without any visible light hope wains and despair grows. Darkness reigns.
But then you come around a bend and far in the distance you see a speck of light. It’s not close enough to effect your current situation or visibility. You still can’t see anything around you, but it does change everything. The presence of the light immediately washes away your insecurity and your confidence soars. You move toward the light knowing that everything will be okay.
This is what Christmas is all about. Even though the passage in Isaiah 9 was penned thousands of years ago, it still holds true today. The Light of God has dawned in a world steeped in darkness. And light changes everything.
In John 8 Jesus says, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (v12).
So as you observe all of the lights at Christmas this year, may they remind you of the true light of the world. May they give you hope. And if you find yourself in a season of darkness this Christmas season, rest assured that light has dawned. His name is Jesus. Move towards Him and allow his light to set you free. May his light bring you comfort and joy, and carry with you the words of John 1:5, “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”