We have been busily decorating the church with lights; our neighbourhoods are twinkling as friends are feverishly transforming their homes.
In the heart of our cities across Canada, millions of little white lights sparkle in the darkness, a celebration in the bleakest of months.
Lights are a perfect way to celebrate the Christmas message.
A symbol, a powerful visual of hope, future, and peace.
Why? Because the bible explains that the world is shrouded in darkness.
Darkness in the scriptures represents evil and ignorance. The time of the birth of Christ was a dark time in the history of Israel.
Herod the Great mercilessly murdered his way through his family, bumped off his wives and eliminated his opponents. The cruel King, who oppressed the masses with excessive taxes and massive building projects.
People were tired and defeated.
Then the Christmas story, a story full of light, joy, and divine power.
The star appears; a comet or a supernova, God’s flashlight in the sky, helping the magi not stumble.
In addition to the light show, blazing angels arrive to deliver a message and sing to a group of unsuspecting shepherds.
I have stood on the edge of Bethlehem, in those fields. I have imagined how many other people would have seen the meteorite shower of angels arriving. In a land of zero light pollution, seeing the light but not yet hearing the message must have been confusing, terrifying and astounding, all at the same time. The message that a child is born in Bethlehem.
This event was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah 750 years earlier. He gazed through his prophetic and prayer-filled binoculars and wrote these words: “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness, a light has dawned.” The word dawned literally in the Hebrew language means a flash. Isaiah was speaking of the sun arriving in the morning after the night. The sun brings life, gives life, it illuminates truth, ignorance evaporates like a morning mist, and the light shows us the way.
Just try and drive your car at night without headlights; the light shows us the way.
Light reveals the truth. And finally, this light that has dawned is beautiful. A sunrise is one of our greatest gifts, the beauty of dawn that creates the warmth of the day. Isaiah goes on to say, “For to us a child is born to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
Let’s look for the light to shine in our darkness as we continue our advent journey.
Phil Collins is pastor at Willow Park Church Kelowna.