Grace Emerges

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

What's So Great About Christmas?, #3

by Brad Duncan

#3, The Lights!: Do you ever wonder why Christmas lights are so meaningful, even magical?  Electric lights on the trees, houses, Christmas tree and everywhere else?  What about when candles are lit in the dark?  It just seems to resonate with celebrating, joy, singing, sharing time with each other, and enjoying special meals.  Lights also seems to resonate with a peaceful stillness, indicating that the celebrations have a deep meaning for all of us.  Do you ever wonder why all the lights?

The reason hit home for me this year when reading the Christmas story from Luke 2 with our kids last night by candlelight.  My nine-year-old acted the part of the angel, and as he held the candle and said in a mock-booming voice "Don't be afraid.  I have good news for you...", I realized that the light was my favorite symbol of the good news.  Sometimes the world is a dark place.  But light fills it.  The light is a gift to the darkness.  It brings something good that wasn't there before.  Then with my family we talked about gifts, lights, and how God brought the light of the world as a gift for all people.  We wrapped up with the words of Simeon from Luke 2:32:

Your mighty power is a light
    for all nations,
and it will bring honor
    to your people Israel.

What good news!  All of these traditions, decorations, parties, and Christmas songs, all of these candlelight services, Christmas tree lightings, Christmas movies, children's stories -- they are all *magical* because of the power of light to transform the dark.  Every light is a symbol of Christ's birth.

And there's something more.  We are celebrating the light of Christ that still shines in this world.  The spirit of Christ still shines.  It lights up my life, it brings comfort, truth and help in time of need.  It shows us God's continuing eternal love for us.  When songs and stories celebrate "Christmas spirit", and when we find ourselves filled with "Christmas spirit" meaning love and kindness toward others, we are once again opening the gift that Christ brought to the world, the gift of his spirit to fill us and transform us.  The light of the world that shines through us all.  The Holy Spirit is the lasting gift, who is present with us, the continuing presence of  Emanuel, God With Us.

Merry Christmas to All ! May the light of Christ fill you with celebration!

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