Then a cloud appeared and covered them, and a voice came from the cloud: “This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to Him!”

(Mark 9:7, NIV)


One of my sweetest Christmas memories is riding in the backseat with my four-year-old granddaughter as we oohed and aahed over the dazzling celebration of lights hung throughout her New Jersey neighborhood: illuminated candy houses, full-size reindeer pulling Santa’s sleigh, ablaze manger scenes with angels and shepherds. We’d point out the best ones, laugh, and exchange impressions while our eyes danced with the radiant splendor of the season. But the brightest and most beautiful choreographed lights and music displays pale in comparison to the Transfiguration of Jesus in Mark 9.

Jesus took on human form so He could walk among us, show us what God is like, and redeem us from sin and shame so we can live with Him forever. But as He neared the horrendous ordeal of the cross, out of compassion, He showed three of His beloved followers that the cross would not be the end. Along the southern ridge of Mount Hermon, Jesus glorified His human body, and these disciples saw Him as He will be when He returns. Mark describes the scene in Mark 9:3, “His clothes became dazzling white, whiter than anyone in the world could bleach them.” John saw the transformed Christ twice and later provided more details in Revelation 1:14–15. He wrote, “The hair on his head was white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire. His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters.”    

So drive around at Christmas and delight in our effort to light up our world, but let the season’s golden glow constantly remind you of Christ’s glorious return! Remember that even the house that wins the best-lit-house award doesn’t compare to the glorified world Christ will inaugurate when He returns. One day you may want to put super-extra-strong sunglasses on your Christmas list.