If there has ever been a year when we need a little Christmas, 2020 is it! We have dealt with COVID and all the fear, sickness, and death that come with it. The unleashing of this virus then set off a cascade of events that have left us reeling: the lockdown, jobs furloughed and lost, schools in and out of the classroom, racial tension, riots and looting, fires and hurricanes, a chaotic election season, and oh! Murder hornets! Did I leave anything out? So as soon as the calendar turned from October to November I began thinking about Christmas decorations. We are always early, but this year is the earliest we have ever had ours up. Last night we even turned on the outdoor lights. Because we need a little Christmas.
I suppose it is the lights that I love the most. In addition to our tree we have lots of lighted garlands and wreaths. Oh how we enjoy drinking our morning coffee in the glow of the Christmas lights.
I’ve been thinking about light quite a bit lately. Our Community Bible Study groups are studying the Book of John this year. I have read and studied John many times, but the verses have leapt off the pages as if they are brand new to me. And in the first few verses John describes Jesus as the light. Of course I have long been familiar with the concept of Jesus as the Light of the World, but it has grabbed me anew and I keep coming back to it. Why is that title so important?
Light itself is essential. Without it we cannot have life. The very first thing God did in the beginning was to create light (Gen. 1:3) because the rest of creation was going to need it. I know next to nothing about physics, but I started thinking about the properties of light. Light travels. It has the ability to pierce the darkness; but darkness cannot dim light. Light attracts; it has a gravitational pull. It causes growth and produces energy. Light changes the materials it shines on. Light heals and purifies. And Jesus does all those things. He attracts us, and when we search for Him, we find Him. He moves into willing lives and shines light on our sins. He changes and purifies us. He doesn’t leave us the same. He heals us and causes us to grow in righteousness.
We so need the Light of the World to penetrate our dark world right now. There is so much hatred and anger, so much polarization. And so much corruption. Light exposes those things that are concealed in darkness. Mark 4:22 tells us that things that are hidden in the darkness will be brought into the light.
Next month we will celebrate Christmas. When Jesus was born into the world as a baby, He came in an explosion of light that lit up the night sky. The shepherds saw it, and after their initial fear, they were filled with such joy and hope. The Magi were drawn to it and worshipped the new King. That is why I need my Christmas lights. They remind me that God is still on His throne and He still has a plan, that the Light of the World still changes hearts, and that the darkness will never overcome that Light.