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The Light of Christmas

December 24, 2018

When I think of Christmas my mind wanders back to many places where I have celebrated Christmas. What is the one constant in each place? Letting the light of Christ shine brightly on the night of his birth. Even though this picture was taken at the end of October, just imagine this deer coming to the manger in awe and wonder at the light of Christ.

In the Isaiah reading for Christmas Eve, we hear the prophecy telling of the one who was to come to restore the House of David. The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness–on them has light shined. (Isaiah 9:2)

This particular reading reminds me of the opening verses of John’s Gospel. 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 came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it. (John 1:1-5)

Light… it is a precious thing. Without light plants can’t grow and it is easy for us to sink into depression or hopelessness. We just passed the shortest day and the longest night of the year with the Winter Solstice. Now the days will get longer and the nights will get shorter.

The Light which John was talking about… the Light which Isaiah was talking about… was no ordinary light. It was the light of the one who was to come… the Messiah… the Lord… that is the Light which we commemorate and seek each Christmas Eve. That is the Light which guides us each and every day as we seek to follow Christ.

A star guided the visitors to the manger that night long ago. With the birth of Jesus, a light which had been missing from the land for too long was rekindled.

As Mary and Joseph took all of it in… the journey… the birth… the stories of the Shepherds… the almost surreal sense of that night… there was a lot for them to ponder.

Tonight we do more than simply commemorate or remember the events of long ago. Even as we gather around the table for the Lord’s Supper, we do more than remember. This night my prayer is for each of us to find that light which may have grown dim in our lives… that somehow we may rekindle the flame of the Spirit’s presence. That we might recommit to lighting the Candles again. Relight the candles which Howard Thurman wrote about.

I Will Light Candles This Christmas

  • Candles of joy, despite all sadness,
  • Candles of hope where despair keeps watch.
  • Candles of courage for fears ever present,
  • Candles of peace for tempest-tossed day’s,
  • Candles of grace to ease heavy burdens,
  • Candles of love to inspire all my living,
  • Candles that will burn all the year long.

May we find that light within our own lives as we come to the manger and remember. May we recommit to following and serving the one born of Mary. May we be Christ-followers in all that we do. May we light the candles and hold them high.

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