The “Brave New World” of the 21st Century requires a “Brave New Discipleship” strategy.

What Do the Lights of Christmas Symbolize?

Posted on: December 27, 2016

THE LIGHTS OF CHRISTMAS SYMBOLIZE THE LIGHT THAT JESUS BRINGS INTO THE WORLD

I want to close out this year’s blog posts with a final reflection on Christmas.

The lights of Christmas, which adorn homes, businesses, and public places at Christmas, make the world sparkle and as one “takes in” the bedazzling displays, it becomes momentarily believable that we could see peace on earth and good will toward men. They add a festivity that is not seen at any other time of the year.

But the lights are not merely decorative; they’re symbolic. They are symbolic of the fact that Jesus brings light into the world. This light overcomes the ignorance and evil that is part of the “darkness.”

Isaiah 9:2 says, “The people who walk in darkness will see a great light; those who live in a dark land, the light will shine on them.”

That light that has now shined… and it has revealed to us the One who is a Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6).

We Worship the God of Light

If Jesus really is the Mighty God, and the Everlasting Father, we can’t just like him. We can’t just think highly of Him. We cannot just respect and esteem Him. We must either ignore Him or reject Him as a liar or lunatic, or we must fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God, as C. S. Lewis said. As he went on to say, “Let us not come up with any of this patronizing nonsense about His being a great moral teacher. He did not leave that option open to us. He did not intend to.”

This is certainly what happened in the Bible. No one said, “Isn’t He a great moral teacher.” No one said, “He is so inspiring that He makes me want to live a better life.” No prominent public figure said, “He sets a good example for all of us to follow.”

Rather, he drew a line through Humanity. They were either with Him or against Him.

Lewis strengthened this point when he wrote: “Christianity, if false, is of no importance, and if true, of infinite importance. The one thing it cannot be is moderately important.” 

It is as Dallas Willard once said: “When we see Jesus as he is, we must turn away or else shamelessly adore him.”

So, if we accept the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, we worship Him.

We Serve the God of Light

Then, if He is the Wonderful Counselor and Prince of peace, we must serve Him. This One who is our Wonderful Counselor has gone through our experiences and understands us and leads us to peace if we will serve Him.

Dorothy Sayers, a British essayist and novelist, wrote:

The incarnation means that for whatever reason God chose to let us fall… To suffer, to be subject to sorrows and death – he has nonetheless had the honesty encouraged to take his own medicine… He can exact nothing from man that he has not exacted from himself. He himself has gone through the whole of human experience – from the trivial irritations of family life and the cramping restrictions of hard work and lack of money to the worst horrors of pain and humiliation, defeat, despair and death… He was born in poverty and… suffered infinite pain – all for us – and thought it well worth his while. (Creed or Chaos, p. 6).

So, with the birth of Jesus, those of us walking in darkness have seen a great light and this light shines in our hearts today and leads us to Him.

Conclusion

Max Lucado, who used to be a missionary to Brazil, tells the story of… a girl named Christina, who longed to leave her poor Brazilian neighborhood and see the world. Discontent with a home having only a pallet on the floor, a washbasin, and a wood-burning stove, she dreamed of a better life in the city. One morning she slipped away, breaking her mother’s heart.

Knowing what life on the streets would be like for her young, attractive daughter, Maria hurriedly packed to go find her. On her way to the bus stop she entered a drugstore to get one last thing: pictures. She sat in the photograph booth, closed the curtain, and spent all she could on pictures of herself. With her purse full of small black-and-white photos, she boarded the next bus to Rio de Janeiro.

Maria knew Christina had no way of earning money. She also knew that her daughter was too stubborn to give up. When pride meets hunger, a human will do things that were before unthinkable. Knowing this, Maria began her search. Bars, hotels, nightclubs, any place with the reputation for streetwalkers. She went to them al. And at each place she left her picture—taped on a bathroom mirror, tacked to a hotel bulletin board, fastened to a corner phone booth. And on the back of each photo she wrote a note. It wasn’t too long before both the money and the pictures ran out, and Maria had to go home. 

The weary mother wept as the bus began its long journey back to her small village. It was a few weeks later that young Christina descended the hotel stairs. Her young face was tired. Her brown eyes no longer danced with youth but spoke of pain and fear. Her laughter was broken. Her dream had become a nightmare. A thousand times over she had longed to trade those countless beds for her secure pallet. Yet the little village was, in too many ways, too far away.

As she reached the bottom of the stairs, her eyes noticed a familiar face. She looked again, and there on the lobby mirror was a small picture of her mother. Christina’s eyes burned and her throat tightened as she walked across the room and removed the small photo. Written on the back was this compelling invitation. “Whatever you have done, whatever you have become, it doesn’t matter. Please come home.”

She did. (No Wonder They Call Him the Savior, Multnomah Press, 1986, pp. 158-9

That is how much God loves us. He came to earth 2000 years ago, born as a baby, determined to live a human life and go through all we go through, for the purpose of scouring the earth for those who will accept His invitation to come. He has left many pictures around for us… nature, the witness of sincere Christians, the Scriptures, our conscience… but a main one, we see at Christmas. The whole world pauses for a week or so, and remembers again the story of Christmas. And while many have forgotten what the message is, the picture is still there.

Jesus came to earth for one reason… so that, through Him, we could come home to God.

So this Christmas, may we follow the light and let it lead us to put Christ at the center of our lives.

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