Arise, shine, for your light has come,
and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.
For behold, darkness shall cover the earth,
and thick darkness the peoples;
but the Lord will arise upon you,
and his glory will be seen upon you.
–Isaiah 60: 1-2
A little over a week ago, we came together to celebrate that the Light has come, to give thanks and praise that we need not walk in darkness, for Jesus came to our wretched and dark world to save us, to live as one of us, to know our pain and wretchedness, and to lift us out of it.
Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
We often overlook the why and how of putting up Christmas lights, yet it is the part I love the best. Somehow, in celebrating that the Light has come, we are drawn to filling the world with lights, flooding the insides and outsides of our homes with bulbs and candles that tell us the good news, that shout to us about this glorious miracle that has happened, though too often we grow deaf to the cries. Nevertheless, I love the lights. I love the candlelight services: the starting of the flame, the passing throughout the room, the joining in this shared symbol of the miracle we are celebrating, the praising God for the little flame and all it represents, singing
“Silent night, Holy night
Son of God, love’s pure light
Radiant beams from thy holy face
With the dawn of redeeming grace,
Jesus, Lord at thy birth
Jesus, Lord at thy birth.”
For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”
–2 Corinthians 4:6
As I begin this year, I am seeking to set my hope and trust in that Light, having faith that I will never be left alone in the darkness. That faith is my struggle, trusting that God is in control, that no matter how often people fail me, He will not. Fortunately, He is steadfast even when I am not.
In the beginning was the Word, and the word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.