Monday, December 10, 2012


I like lots of light. I’ll gladly tolerate frequent cleaning of my many windows in exchange for the view. We can sympathize for the people who are forced to live in a cave or a dungeon. But thanks be to God, His light shines in the darkest places. When we carry the light of Jesus within us, His joy and peace radiate toward those around us. May His light shine through you this holy season. 


The Light of the World

The sun was at our backs while my family and I walked through the John Muir State Park in northern California. Long shadows of the park’s stately Redwoods surrounded us. But my four-year-old grandson saw only his own shadow, and he danced ahead, happily trying to step on it. 

The Christmas lights that dress up houses and buildings and trees remind me of my grandson’s antics. As the lights and candles glow in the darkness, they cast shadows that flicker and dance. They’re like magnets, drawing people to enjoy them. Many towns even hold contests for the most beautifully lit homes and yards. We view them with awe, forgetting that we view them from shadowy places. Once enjoyed, we turn our backs to face the shadows.

Christmas lights are meant to be reminders of the light of God’s love when He sent His Son, Jesus, to be born on earth. During that time, most citizens of the Mideast lived in the shadows of harsh dictators. They had little hope that their lot in life would improve. Then … a sudden light from heaven brought hope and joy and awe. Such a light brought unbelievable brightness to their dark world. It even caused fear.

“Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid.” (Luke 2:8-9)

The shepherds, accustomed to the dark and to the far-off light of stars and moon, must have fallen to the ground in utter fear as they faced the light of God’s glory. Yet, their gaze remained on the light and they hurried to Bethlehem to “see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.” (Luke 2:15)

The message to the shepherds is also for us. When we turn away from the flickering, dark shadows of sin—whether a sin as big as murder or as seemingly small as pride or envy—or from life’s difficult problems toward His glorious light, we too will find joy and freedom. We will find forgiveness and completeness. Through Christ, we will become reconciled with God, our Father in heaven.

 Lord, we thank You for Your Son, Jesus, the Light of the world. Give us the strength and will to turn away from the shadows of sin and toward Your life-giving Light. In Jesus’ name, amen.

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