Focal passage: Isaiah 9:1-3; John 1:1-9
Christmas is the coziest time of year. Lush fabrics, fires crackling, hearty dinners, and the gentle glow of Christmas lights softening everything in view. For young and old, lights always bring a bit of wonder into neighborhoods and homes. I had a friend in high school who invited me to join her family for a special night of driving to see Christmas lights around town. We dressed in our pajamas, popped popcorn, and brought along cups and a thermos of hot cocoa to share. As we drove, we marveled at the lights – white, red, green, blue, orange – an array! There were twinkling lights, lights shaped into holiday characters, and light shows synchronized to a local radio station. For a few hours we snuggled together and instead of rushing to get out of the cold night, we lingered. We drove in circles. We meandered our way through neighborhoods we’d never been before. And the lights welcomed us, making the darkest coves accessible and even inviting.
“The true light,” John writes in his gospel,“which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world.” I love how John so subtly notes that Christ, the true light, gives light to everyone. Just as Christ had created the world, when He came He illuminated all.
We can become so busy, stressed, overwhelmed, and exhausted during the holidays. The nights are longer and darker. Somehow even grief is heavier. And yet, there are small graces all around. “The people who walked in darkness,” Isaiah says,“have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone.” Christ came, the light of the world, to brighten the darkness, to reveal, to unearth, to redeem. We, who once were far off and full of darkness and sin ourselves, are welcomed in.
Light to everyone! Even in the simple decorations we hang to celebrate the glory and goodness of our God, we remember and we look ahead. But there will be no gloom…in the latter time He has made glorious the way…