Listen to Nancy’s answer recorded live on Moody radio, here:
There are so many wonderful things about Christmas that can draw us into the wonder of God and the birth of His Son. For me, the enjoyment of driving through neighborhoods in the dark of night and seeing trees bright with lights that, for some reason, bring joy to my soul. Decorating our Christmas tree with lights and ornaments that bring memories of Christmases past. And then the placement of the lighted star at the top of the tree calls us to the One whose birth and life we celebrate.
“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” (John 1:5)
The Jews historically experienced God’s nature through His light that often caused them great fear. They saw the glory of the Lord shown as intolerable brightness known to the Jews as the Shechinah, His eternal presence. Moses saw God’s light in the bush; the Jews were led by it in a pillar of fire and in a cloud that guided them in the desert. The Light also appeared in the tabernacle and the temple.
Throughout the Bible, light has always been a symbol of holiness, goodness, knowledge, wisdom, grace, hope, and God’s revelation. Light is the nature and character of God. He is not just a light or a kind of light; He is light itself. All light comes from Him. At the beginning of time, He created the light to dispel the darkness and chaos over all the earth. How fitting it is for our infinite and omnipotent God, who does not need the sun, moon, and stars to provide light, to simply call light into being.
“And God said, “Let there be light” and there was light. God saw that it was good and he separated the light from the darkness” (Genesis 1:3).
In the New Testament, “In him was life,” the prologue to the Gospel of John declares regarding Jesus, “and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in darkness; and the darkness has not understood it.” (John 1:4-5).
Darkness represents everything that is anti-God: the wicked (Proverbs 2:13), judgment (Exodus 10:21), and death (Psalm 88:12). The light that is God is the opposite of the darkness that is evil. The light of God is His holiness, righteousness, and goodness, in contrast to the darkness of evil and sin. Light is part of the essence of God. He is entirely, unreservedly, absolutely holy, with no sin, no iniquity, and no hint of injustice.
The light of God that appeared over the manger where Christ was born, was what the shepherds were following when they found Jesus, the Savior of the world, lying in a manger. That same Shechinah light, which means “dwelling of God,” guided the wise men almost two years later to come to worship Jesus in His house. The star was unusual because a typical star does not move in front of a person and stop.
Jesus called His disciples and all who believe to be light and light-bearers, encouraging followers to let their light so shine before the world that they see God in them and glorify Him.
“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:13-16).
The light gives life, but for many, Christmas is a difficult time of year. Sad memories of broken families, abuse, unfaithfulness, abandonment, death and much more continue to resurface especially at Thanksgiving and Christmas. The good news about the Light is when we choose to focus, no longer on our past, but on who God is, the love that He has for each one of us who believe and trust in His Son, the darkness will begin to fade away and the love and joy for life, will be ours.
For at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light” (Ephesians 5:8).
Light is a big part of the Christmas story because the Jesus, the Light, has overcome the darkness in this world and promises that when the believer dies, there will be light, love and joy eternally. Our future residency is in Heaven with God forever. It is a place where there is no darkness, sadness, bad memories, sickness and nor death.
“And I will lead the blind in a way that they do not know, in paths that they have not known I will guide them. I will turn the darkness before them into light, the rough places into level ground. These are the things I do, and I do not forsake them.” (Isaiah 42:16).
“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” (John 8:12).
“God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new” (Revelation 21:3-5).