Light of the World




People love Christmas lights.


Even the most hard-core Grinch, even the Scroogiest Scrooge can’t help but appreciate the beauty of all the multicolored lights on homes, businesses, churches, trees, bushes, fences, and virtually anything on which a light can be hung.


And, I will grant you that many of these displays often seem to have nothing to do with Jesus.


But they do.


The tradition goes back to the first Christmas trees, when people would put candles in them to symbolize Jesus as the light of the world.


So, even the most full-on Griswold display of excessive electrical consumption with all of its depictions of snowmen and Santa and elves and reindeer and all the things your Bible never mentions have their origins in the Lord and Savior of the world. 

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. John 1:5 (NIV)


Indeed, the darkness has no chance against the light because the darkness isn’t actually a thing. Darkness is the absence of light. While the frequency, the wavelength, the color, the intensity, and even the speed of light can be measured and studied, darkness has none of those properties.


Darkness is, literally, nothing.


There are places on this earth where life can exist in darkness, but its most often not total darkness and the life that does exist there is strange and twisted, hideous and macabre, lacking in beauty and color.


Going back to John 1:5, the word most often translated “overcome” is rendered “comprehended,” “apprehended,” “put it out,” “overtake,” and “perceive.”  The Greek word is κατέλαβεν (katelaben) and Strong’s defines is as “to take eagerly, i.e. seize, possess, etc.”


Indeed, the darkness has never seized hold of or taken possession of the light that is Jesus Christ. The darkness cannot snatch away the light because the presence of light destroys and negates the darkness. The darkness cannot even comprehend or begin to understand the brilliance, the marvelous and majestic glory, of the light.


And, when we associated light with glory, I cannot help but think of the angel of the Lord appearing to the shepherds:

Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified…” Luke 2:9 (NLT)


They were terrified. There, in the dark of night, in the rocky hill country outside of Bethlehem, some lowly shepherds had Heaven open up before them and all the light of the eternal throne room of the One True God shine down upon them as an angel spoke to them. And they were terrified.


As the KJV puts it, “sore afraid.”


So scared it hurt.


The light is indeed marvelous. All life on earth, even the life that lives in near darkness, depends on the light for life. Light and life are inexorably linked together. 


Light was the very first thing God spoke into existence. 


And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.  God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. Genesis 1:3&4 (NIV)


And when God gave us His Son to be the light of the world, He put a light in the sky to announce His birth and guide men to Him.


Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the reign of King Herod. About that time some wise men from eastern lands arrived in Jerusalem, asking, “Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star as it rose, and we have come to worship him.” Matthew 2:1&2 (NLT)


And, after they had talked to Herod and inquired where the could find Jesus, verses nine and ten tell us:

After this interview the wise men went their way. 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! 


Yes, they were filled with joy. 


Even though the darkness tries to forget about the light, the light still shines in the darkness and the darkness never had a chance against the light.


It flees. The darkness is utterly destroyed –wiped out by the light. 


So, when you look upon those Christmas lights, remember that they are about Jesus. Every bulb, every twinkle, every sprinkle put on a Christmas cookie symbolizes Jesus, the Light of World.


And remember that we are called to be that light:

“You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father. Matthew 5: 14-16 (NLT)


And, just as the light was the first thing that God spoke into being, the light will be there for all eternity:


Today’s Praise

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, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it. Revelation 21:23&24 (NIV)

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