On a run to the hospital last night, I drove through residential areas and the child in me started to take note of the houses that were decorated with lights. Some, like mine, included a polite nod to the Season. I have white lights on a two trees in front my home. That’s it! Others were works of art, displays of color and craftsmanship that required hours of work. Some were tasteful, others – well, not so much. As I write this morning, at the periphery of my vision is a little tree in the bay window of my kitchen, sparkling with a couple of dozen multi-colored lights.
About 300 years ago the Christmas tree and candles were matched in the celebration of Christmas but too often with disastrous results. Imagine a pine tree that is drying out that has real candles attached to its branches. Who decided that was a good idea?
Near the end of the 19th century, as Edison was perfecting his light bulb, he looked for ways to promote his new invention. Lights strung on a Christmas tree in place of dangerous candles was a perfect thing and the first ones dazzled those who saw it, though it was a treat reserved for the very rich. Around 1900 a single string of lights cost about $300 in today’s dollars! But as electricity and light bulbs became part of our American lives, so did the brightly lit Christmas tree and decorations that are universal in 2016.
Those lights remind me of the Light!
As you read John’s words ask the Spirit to make them radiant with joyful hope for you. “The Word gave life to everything that was created, and his life brought light to everyone. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it. God sent a man, John the Baptist, to tell about the light so that everyone might believe because of his testimony. John himself was not the light; he was simply a witness to tell about the light. The one who is the true light, who gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. He came into the very world he created, … to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God. … the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son.“ (John 1:4-14, NLT)
Jesus came to Light up the darkness, to bring the radiance of God to us who were captives of sin, living in the dark. What a story! Just gaze on Him. Where hate, bleak and miserable, divides us, He radiates love, beautiful and warm, to unite us. Where addictions to Self, sex, and substance drag us into dark dungeons of slavery, He brings the light of freedom to lead us to pleasant places of fulfillment and joy. Yes, He is the Light.
Choose to live in the light, Christian. Don’t hide from Him. Don’t let the fear of exposure cause you to scurry back to some dark place. Take the life that comes with the Light. Like moon that hangs in the night sky, invite the Light to shine brightly on you and reflect that radiance into the places where your orbit in life carries you.
When you are driving past those displays let each one be a reminder that the true Light has come who give light to everyone. And, rejoice!
Here is a word from the Word. Lord shine on us and make us to know the radiance of the Father. “For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.” (2 Corinthians 4:6, NIV) Amen.
Here I Am To Worship
Light of the world
You stepped down into darkness
Opened my eyes let me see
Beauty that made
This heart adore You
Hope of a life spent with You
So here I am to worship
Here I am to bow down
Here I am to say that You’re my God
And You’re altogether lovely
Altogether wonderful to me
King of all days
Oh so highly exalted
Glorious in heaven above
Humbly You came
To the earth You created
All for love’s sake became poor
Tim Hughes © 2000 Thankyou Music (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing)
CCLI License # 810055