I pile the children into the car to escape for a moment. Pajama clad little ones find cozy seats and settle in for the journey - we are searching for Christmas lights! We ooh and aah over bowing white reindeer and smiling, glowing snowmen. Faces press against glass to see the manger scene, Mary and Joseph hovering over a sleeping Jesus. Carols of Christmas joy playing on the radio. Then we bustle home to holiday bedtime stories and red blankets and penguin pillows. Rest and peace. . .
That's when I slow. . .and ponder. . .and read again the story of light coming down to this dark, lost world. With candles and Christmas tree aglow in the quiet I can see. . . light really does overcome the darkness.
I read a story once about a man who opened his dark closet to get a board game out for his children to play. As he opened the closet door, light from the hallway immediately flooded into the closet so he could see the games, to choose one. The thought of the light filling the dark space suddenly struck him. He closed the door and opened it again and each time the light filled the darkness. He called his children to come and see, they were not as impressed and eager to play the game, but that simple thought of light being greater than the dark stayed with him. He said that darkness did not spill into the bright hallway, making the hallway darker, but light took over the blackness. At first I thought this story was silly and simple, but the more I considered it the more meaningful it became.
God's first act of creation was light. A light that was greater than emptiness. A light that was greater than the deep void of nothingness. A light that would be the foundation of creation. A light separated from the darkness. A light foreshadowing the light of the world. A light whispering of salvation. . .
Manger wrapped and starlight soaked, Elohim sends His perfect light to pierce the darkness. Yahweh Himself gives the purest, most hallowed gift of all, His very Son, His very self, His very heart. . . The first gift of Christmas was light Himself.
"In him was life, and that life was the light of men." John 1:4
Light sent to the dark streets of Bethlehem. Light sent to the dark places of our hearts. Light sent to overcome the darkness, the blackness, the sin, the sorrow.
"The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it...
He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the
world did not recognize him." John 1:5,10
Salvation sent, in baby soft skin and feathery hair and newborn cry, but we do not understand. How can such tiny fingers change a world? How can toothless mouth speak words of God. . . be the Word? The darkness of sin clouds the eyes and the heart. Our comfortable blindness darkens the mind, so we cannot understand that this baby is God reaching down to man. This baby holds the salvation of humanity. This baby is God with us!
"The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We
have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from
the Father, full of grace and truth." John 1:14
So maybe this is why we go in search of Christmas lights this year. Maybe this is why we spread glowing bulbs on fragrant pines and light flames in scented wax. Maybe we are all searching. . . hoping to find the light. Maybe we are all on this journey to see Him and know Him more through the gift of His perfect Son, the light of the world. Maybe the darkness of sin and blindness of this world cause us to want to see. . .see the truth, the hope, the miracle of God with us.
May His light shine in our hearts this Christ coming!