It’s dark out. The darkest day of the year was a couple days ago. Wasn’t there so much more light not that long ago? But darkness has overcome. The only thing making it less awful is all the beautiful Christmas lights we see here, there, and everywhere. I get the feeling so many of those lights are simply for that reason: to make darkness less unbearable. The advent of Halloween and Thanksgiving lights gives me that impression.
Why do we decorate with lights? Is it just so it’s less dark out? Just to give us some cheer while the cold air and darkness makes us feel sad? Or is there something more to it? Is there a reason to decorate, another reason besides we want to pay the electric company extra? Why do we decorate with lights?
We decorate because it was on this night that the Light of the world came into the world. Christians did not take this day from pagans. Recent scholarship is saying pagans tried to steal it from Christians but failed. Maybe He wasn’t born this night; Scripture doesn’t give the date. But this day makes sense. For light is starting to make a comeback. The days are getting longer. He is born to rescue us from darkness and bring us into the eternal light of life.
The shepherds were out in the dark. Only “halfspent was the night.” They were wondering what might yet happen. Would it stay clear? Would it rain or snow? Would a wolf or bear or lion attack? Would a thief snatch some? All they had were the stars and moon and their lamps. Their eyes were well adjusted to the darkness, but they certainly couldn’t see too much.
Then out of nowhere a spectacular sight! Light surrounded them! And some sort of being they’d never seen before was standing right in front of them! What was it? They were sore afraid! It was a holy angel! Of course they were sore afraid. You would be scared too if holiness confronted you, O sinner, like this.
But the angel didn’t want them to be afraid. “Fear not, for I bring you glad tidings of great joy for all people: unto you is born this day The Savior, Christ The LORD.” Then all the angels appeared to sing, “Glory be to God on high, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” The glory of God has appeared to bring light to our darkness, to make us sinners holy in God’s sight.
Christ Jesus is born this night. The Savior has been born. God is Man, man to deliver. He is come to rescue us from the darkness of sin. He is come to show us the way to eternal life. He is come to rescue us from the power of evil. He is come to destroy the power of evil with His Death on The Cross. He is come to bring everlasting life to light with His Resurrection. He is come to give up His life so we can live forever.
Darkness represents evil. After all, most crimes are committed at night. You do what is right during the day because everyone can see you. Christ has come with His light to bring us into the light. He has come to rescue us from evil, to lead us to desire to do what is good in His sight. He has come to take us to heaven and then to take us to the life everlasting that will begin on Judgment Day.
So put up your lights. Leave them up at least until Epiphany, if not all the way to February 2. Celebrate that Christ has come to bring light to this world. Celebrate that He has come to bring us into an everlasting day. Celebrate that your sins are forgiven and eternal life is yours.