In the beginning the Word already existed.John 1:1-4
The Word was with God,
and the Word was God.
He existed in the beginning with God.
God created everything through him,
and nothing was created except through him.
The Word gave life to everything that was created,
and his life brought light to everyone.
I love Christmas lights.
Les and I make sure we hit Longwood Gardens each Christmas season to enjoy the spectacular lights and decorations. We take at least one evening to drive around neighborhood to neighborhood seeking the best displays, to be awestruck by the twinkling lights outlining houses and covering trees, to laugh at the blowups bouncing in the wind, to smile and reflect on the manger scenes. Christmas lights make me feel warm and bright as we anticipate the holiday.
I love Christmas lights—but I don’t like winter. And so as January rolls around and one by one the houses turn dark, it depresses me. I miss the beauty of the twinkling lights, the way they speak of miracles and magi, of welcome and wonder.
Christmas lights seem an appropriate decoration for a holiday that featured a twinkling star. But they also fit because of the one that star pointed out. The baby in the manger was the one who hung the stars in the first place. He is the “Word” that John says created everything, and the one who still “holds all creation together” (Colossians 1:17). We can relish the lights and allow them to remind us of the God who chose to create all the world, blazing stars included.
Verse 4 of John 1 also tells us that in his life and death, Jesus brought light to everyone. He was the light of the world, drawing people to seek God. People were attracted to Jesus, not to what he looked like, but to his love, to the beauty of God he revealed in a harsh and lonely world.
Jesus tells us that, as his disciples, we are now “the light of the world” (Matthew 5:14). We get to be the light, a beacon to a weary world as we “let [our] good deeds shine out for all to see” (Matthew 5:16). I don’t always feel like a light. Sometimes I’m gloomy or disgruntled. Sometimes I’m selfish and rude. But I am the light that can draw people to Jesus if I choose to let his Spirit live through me, with a smile, a kind word, in paying attention and noticing people and appreciating them as Jesus did.
The Christmas lights will eventually blink out, but our lives as light shouldn’t. We can live as God’s new creation, providing hope and joy to the world, in the darkness of winter and throughout the year.
Wishing you a light-filled Christmas!
After three years of disruption—a pandemic, a ministry change, a move, a beloved brother’s death—I feel as though I am reemerging and looking forward to what God has in store, including speaking for your church or organization. I hope you’ll be in touch if I can serve your needs in 2023!