December 30, 2018 - Inscriptions From The Heart
December 30, 2018
Abby Zamora Cheng
“I have come into the world as light, so that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness.” (ESV, John 12:46)
One of the most calming and family-oriented activities my family and I enjoy during the Christmas season is simply sitting around our Christmas tree with no other lights than that of the Christmas lights decorating the tree. The history and theology behind Christmas lights is quite profound.
Outdoor Christmas light displays on houses evolved from decorating the traditional Christmas tree and house with candles during the Christmas season. The custom goes back to 17th century Germany when Christmas trees were decorated with candles, symbolizing Christ being the light of the world. Small candles were attached to the tree branches with pins or melted wax. In addition, European Christians used to display a burning candle in the windows of their house that was visible from the outside. The candles in the window indicated to other Christians that the house was a Christian house and that people were welcome to come worship with the residents.
As we celebrate Christmas, what does ‘light’ mean for us? Are we too going into the world as ‘light’? Does our ‘light’ illuminate the darkness around us? Does it provide warmth in the cold? Does it invite people to seek more light, or does it discourage others to remain in darkness?
In Matthew 5:114-16, Jesus says: “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.” The Christmas season is a reminder of the glory to come, that while we lived in cold, isolated, darkness, Jesus came that we may know the truth about the one who sent him, and consequently sends us.
May your light shine, brightly giving light to all around you, dispelling darkness, inviting others into God’s presence. May your works give glory to God, as we anticipate His Kingdom.