The word, ‘Christmas’, of course, starts with the letters that spell ‘Christ’, the same Jesus Christ who said, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.’ (John 8:12) And then, of course, there was the Star of Bethlehem which the Magi followed to the newborn babe’s birthplace. Light, as opposed to darkness, symbolises goodness and purity. Jesus, the Son of God, represents and is the Glory of God. Did early Christians light Christmas candles to commemorate this?
Whether we know it or not, believe the Bible or not, light, metaphorically and in reality, is a powerful tool which uncovers the darkest depravities of humankind. Jesus came to bring light into our lives: when we believe that He died on our behalf that day on the cross both in reality and symbolically, and then arose three days later a newly resurrected body free of all worldly contamination – a representation of that wholeness we ourselves attain when we accept forgiveness of sin – so the Lord Jesus Himself, if we allow Him, will act as our guiding light throughout our earthly lives even as we march towards our final heavenly abode with Him and the Father.
1‘Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me.2In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you.3And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come backand take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.4You know the way to the place where I am going.’
Jesus is the Light of the world. When we give our lives to Him, He lives in us as light in our minds, hearts, and souls.
I have only reflected on the phenomenon of Christmas lights based on my own worldview. Christmas lights may once upon a time have been lit with reverence – an act of remembrance celebrating the birth of Jesus. When Christians proselytised and brought this tradition with them to other parts of the world, perhaps not only did new Christians embrace it but also non-Christians. After all, tastefully set up Christmas lights make a place look cheerful and inviting. What’s there not to like?
Now, as the world becomes more secular, Christmas lights have become less of a remembrance of the Lord and more as a byword for decoration. Who has the largest display of Christmas lights? Want to win a Christmas lights decoration competition? Perhaps, it is a case of the more garish, the better! How can businesses make money from Christmas lights besides selling them? Well, how about working with local town and city councils to create a Christmas lights event? Bring in the clowns! Pad it out with numerous attractions, such as Christmas markets and Christmas processions. Set off numerous fireworks. Have a street party! The list of possibilities is endless.
I am not against Christmas events. Indeed, I rather like them. I enjoy trawling through a Christmas market as much as the next person. I like looking at the pretty lights and appreciate the art of placing holly, ivy, tinsel and other decorative objects together to tasteful and pleasing effect.
Perhaps my bout of melancholy stems from the fact that the message of Christmas is all but forgotten not only throughout the year but also at Christmastide. Jingles often do not mention the Christ child or might only pay Him lip service. Santa Clause and his reindeer, Frosty the Snowman, and the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future, seem instead to have captured the advertisers’ and public’s imagination. As do expensive gifts and everything commercial. There is no place for the main event – the birth of Jesus Christ – anymore. And, seeing as Christmas is called after the Christ, it really is a sad indictment of how far away many of us have moved from the original meaning of Christmas – of God, coming to Earth in the likeness of man, the Lord Jesus Christ, so that He may have a real, personal, and lasting relationship with those who would invite Him into their lives. It is the world’s passing over of the Light that I mourn.
He came all the way from heaven to look for us and to look out for us. Let us reach out to touch Him and let Him look after us!