Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” So the Pharisees said to him, “You are bearing witness about yourself; your testimony is not true.” Jesus answered, “Even if I do bear witness about myself, my testimony is true, for I know where I came from and where I am going, but you do not know where I come from or where I am going. You judge according to the flesh; I judge no one. (John 8:12-15 ESV).
Mary and I have been known to ride through the surrounding neighborhoods looking at the Christmas lights. We have also been to ICE at the Gaylord Resort in Nashville, Tennessee. It was indeed something to see. In our neighborhood everyone takes care to make their displays as beautiful as possible. Every so often we all come across a truly awesome display covering the house and yards and trees and one of us will remark, “Now that’s a Griswald Christmas!” Of course, she is referencing the classic Christmas movie, “A Griswald Family Christmas.” Normally she will also say, “Bless their hearts” as well. That’s our way in the south of saying, “that’s pitiful.”
You may be one of those that have such a display. That’s great. It gives the rest of us a beautiful display to see. However, the really good news for all of us is that it is a great reminder as to the real meaning of Christmas. You see, lights are an important symbol of the meaning of Christmas. Jesus entered this world to be the Light in the darkness, and God got in on the original light show. After all, the angels appeared to the shepherds, and whenever angels appear they often have this dazzling array around them. And then there was the star over Bethlehem that the wise men were drawn to.
Even the celebration of many Christians in the lighting of the Advent Wreath finds its meaning in this truth. Advent, from the Latin word adventus meaning arrival, is the four week period prior to Christmas. It is a time to meditate on the great sacrifice that Jesus made for us by coming to earth as an infant. He lived a perfect life, died a sacrificial death, and rose from the dead for us. He saved us from our sins and eternal damnation because of his great love, and adopts each person individually into his family through baptism and faith in him. That why each of the candles lit on the wreath symbolize hope, faith, joy, and peace. Jesus brings each of those to our world and to us individually through His atoning work.
Now, that’s good news! So the next time you go driving around looking at the lights, remember the coming of Jesus, as the Light of the world.
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