Lights are up everywhere. Homes, stores, street decorations. If there is a trademark to the Christmas season, it’s lights. In fact, one of the nicknames of Christmas is “The Feast of Lights.” No, it wasn’t the slick invention of Madison Avenue! It goes back to the core of the meaning of Christmas that we see in John 1.
“In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God, and the Word was God… In Him was life and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it… The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world.”
Jesus called himself the “Light of the World.” His coming to earth, from heaven’s throne, was the coming of God’s light into our darkness.
When we think about Christmas lights, we think about pleasant things: it helps us to see in the dark, it provides a sense of warmth and direction. And those things are true. But as we look at Jesus’ light it also exposes what is hidden in the dark; and not only the darkness in the world, “out there”, but the darkness in our own lives. And it makes people squirm.
In my readings through the Gospel of John, I notice that one of two things always happens when Jesus interacts with people: they either get well or they get offended!
Likewise, if Jesus is truly in our lives, we’re either going to get well or we’re going to be offended. Jesus did not come into the world to make it “nice” for us. He came into the world to SAVE us: from the judgment of sin to come AND from the effects of sin within. But it’s up to us to embrace the Light, so he can expose the sin within, redeem us from it, and heal us from its affects.
Some of us have bitterness or anger or pride or self-righteousness or secret addiction or (name your poison) in our lives. Others of us have stuff we aren’t even aware of! But we all have death and darkness in our lives that Jesus wants to transform into life and light.
If you really want this “Christ Mass” to be more meaningful, don’t just put up more Christmas lights on the outside. Rather, let the Christmas Light shine on the inside! Let us allow Christ expose the darkness within us so we can be set free.
For “whoever the Son sets free is free indeed!” (John 8:36)