I love Christmas time.
I love the cold weather, Christmas shopping, Christmas music, mall Santa’s, Christmas movies, and of course the presents!
But I have to admit that the thing I that love the most about Christmas is the lights.
Every year my family and I have a tradition of bundling up in the car, blasting Christmas music, sipping hot chocolate and peppermint mochas, and driving around the city in search of the house with the best Christmas lights.
Are we weird or does anyone else do this?
Either way, we don’t care! We love Christmas lights.
Have you ever asked yourself why we go through the hassle to put all these lights up for Christmas?
I know it looks nice, but is that the only reason? Is it just to spread some Christmas cheer? Is it just to one-up your neighbor with your superior light-hanging skills?
Or, perhaps, could there be something deeper?
Most of us have probably heard the Christmas story before. But awhile back I was reading my Bible, and I noticed something that I had never noticed before.
Ready for it? This is going to blow your mind.
Christmas, the celebration of Jesus’ birth, is all about the lights.
I know, some of you are thinking I’m crazy right now, but just let me explain before you pull out the pitchforks.
The World Is Full of Darkness
I think we can all admit that live in a dark world. Can’t we?
According to the Bible, a long, long time ago the world was perfect. God created a perfect paradise free from all the problems we have today. But then darkness—what the Bible calls sins—crept in and messed everything up.
If you don’t think the world is dark, just turn on the evening news: crime, murder, suicides, scandals, shootings, drug abuse, child abuse, terrorism, war, greed… it’s everywhere!
I barely watch the news anymore because it is so depressing.
The world is a mess. But this mess wasn’t God’s fault. God didn’t create the world to be this dark.
Christmas is the story of God’s solution. It’s the story of how God brought light back to our dark world.
Jesus Is the Light
In the book of John, there is a common theme in the way that John writes about Jesus’ grand entrance into the world.
John is constantly referring to Jesus (“the Word) as “the light.”
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
There was a man sent from God whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe. He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.
The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world (John 1:1-9, emphasis added).
So John is saying that Jesus, who was with God in the very beginning of all creation, is the light who has come to conquer the darkness.
While other gospels tell of Jesus’ birth in more detail, this is how John chose to tell the story of Christmas: the light has come.
Jesus came because we needed the light that only he could provide. He is our only hope against the darkness.
Have you ever been somewhere that was completely pitch dark, where you literally couldn’t even see your hand in front of your face?
I’ll never forget a moment when I was in high school. I came home from football practice one night and took a shower. As I stepped out of the shower, I passed out. I don’t know why. I don’t know if I slipped or fainted. I can’t remember.
But somehow, as I fell, I must have hit the light switch, because I woke up naked on the cold, hard floor in complete darkness.
I was terrified. I thought I’d died and woke up in hell!
My heart was beating out of my chest, but as I groped in the darkness, my fingers found the light switch.
I flipped the switch, and the darkness fled. Everything was ok.
Darkness is scary.
But think about this: Darkness, by definition, isn’t even a thing. It’s only the absence of light.
Darkness can’t do anything to light. You cannot add more darkness to a room. Without light, darkness takes over. In the presence of light, darkness flees.
Without Christmas, our world would be in complete and utter darkness. We would be lost and wandering forever.
Thankfully, Jesus is the light of the world. He said so himself.
When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12).
If we never step into the light, we will never experience life the way it was meant to be.
The Real Meaning of Christmas
Christmas isn’t about Santa.
It’s not about presents.
It isn’t even about getting together with your family.
Christmas is all about the lights—the reminder that Jesus, the light of the world, has come to save us from the dark.
So every time you see a Christmas light this year, my prayer is that you’ll see more than lights; you’ll see Jesus.