It’s that time of year! Actually, we’re well into that time of year...it seems to start earlier and earlier, doesn’t it? It’s Christmas time! The sales are on, the trees are up, and the lights are strung on the houses. Christmas displays can be so varied from the simple nativity to the Griswold house. Something families love to do this time of year is drive around different neighborhoods to look at the Christmas lights. Lights play an important role in the Christmas story, and we are going to look at three different examples.
The Light of the World
“The Word gave life to everything that was created, and his life brought light to everyone. So the Word became human and made his home among us.” (John 1:4, 14)
The Christmas story is the story of the most important light: the Light of the World taking on flesh, coming to earth in the form of a baby to teach us a new way and save us from our sins. C.S. Lewis, in his book Mere Christianity, described this miracle this way:
But what God did about us was this. The Second Person in God, the Son, became human Himself: was born into the world as an actual man—a real man of particular height, with hair of a particular colour, speaking a particular language, weighing so many stone. The Eternal Being, who knows everything and who created the whole universe, became not only a man but (before that) a baby, and before that a foetus inside a Woman's body. If you want to get the hang of it, think how you would like to become a slug or a crab.
The Light of the Angels
But after the Light had entered the world, the light from the angels shone in the sky to some shepherds nearby.
“That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep. Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, but the angel reassured them. ‘Don’t be afraid!’ he said. ‘I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.’
Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.’” (Luke 2:8-14)
So the shepherds made the journey and traveled to see the Messiah. After they had done so, they did what we are all called to do after encountering Jesus:
“After seeing him, the shepherds told everyone what had happened and what the angel had said to them about this child.” (Luke 2:17)
This should be our response too—when we encounter Jesus we should follow his instruction to go and tell the rest of the world about Him.
The Light of the Star
Finally, we have the light shining from the star that guided the wise men to the house of Mary and Joseph. In Matthew 2:2, we learn that the wise men saw “his star,” indicating that this was not just any star, it was unlike the billions of other stars in the sky, and the wise men recognized it. (More on this Friday!)
“And the star they had seen in the east guided them to Bethlehem. It went ahead of them and stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were filled with joy!” (Matthew 2:9b-10)
The light of the King’s star brought joy to the wise men because it led them to Christ. I can think of no greater example of how we should be: Jesus calls his followers lights (Matthew 5:14) and we should lead people to Him. So this Christmas season when you see all the decorative lights, remember the role that lights play in the Christmas story and remember to shine His light to everyone you meet.
May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.