Light of the World

“Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you may now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all nations: a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of your people Israel.”

(Luke 2:29–32, NIV)

The day after Christmas, 2001, upon news that our first grandchild was hours from entering the world, my husband and I caught a jet from Dallas to Anchorage, Alaska. As we approached the runway, I peered out the window to behold a breathtaking sight—a city cupped in the mountains, ablaze with white lights glistening against the darkness, reflecting off blankets of pure white snow. Alaskans light up the city all winter to push back near-constant darkness. For me, a grand celebration to welcome Rebecca into our family.

Two millennia past, Jesus’s family welcomed Him by journeying to the grand Jerusalem temple to dedicate their firstborn Son to God. No lights, no fanfare, but words that light up hearts even today. Simeon, a righteous and devout man, labored for God there, and God had promised him that he would not die until he laid eyes on the Messiah. When he saw Mary, Joseph, and Jesus, he knew this Child was the Messiah. Simeon took Jesus in his arms, praised God, and prophesied, He is “a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of your people Israel.”

Brighter than twinkling strands on your tree, out-blazing all the sparkling decor draping lawns and malls, even more brilliant than the snow white lights of Anchorage is the Light of the World, Jesus. So enjoy the man-made wonderlands of yuletide incandescence that surround us this season, but let them remind you that they are but poor reflections, just precursors to the Light that will one day extinguish all night from our dreary planet. One day that Child will return, grown tall and mighty, full of glory and holiness, to set the universe ablaze with beauty, and we’ll celebrate Christmas every day.