And child, you will be called a prophet of the Most High, for you will go before the Lord to prepare His ways, to give His people knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins. Because of our God’s merciful compassion, the Dawn from on high will visit us…
Luke 1:76-78 HCSB
“The Dawn from on high…” I think this is my new favorite name of Jesus. The Dawn—light rolling back the darkness, climbing past the horizon, chasing the night across the sky. The Light of the world has come, and that’s what runs through my head every time I see Christmas lights. Of all the Christmas traditions, none seem nearly as appropriate and symbolic as the Christmas lights we string up everywhere. We gaze at the lights, even as we are called to gaze at the Light of the world. How perfect!
The Wonder of Light
I’ve never met a child who didn’t LOVE to look at Christmas lights. I loved it when I was a kid. The more lights in a house the better! After a particularly rough day, my sister bathed her (then) two young sons, put them in their PJs, loaded them into the car, treated them to McDonald’s, and drove them around to look at the houses all decorated with lights. I almost cried when I heard that, because it sounded like the kind of night that is pure bliss and wonder when you’re little. There is an innate wonder in light that I am sure is derived from the miraculous awe that is the Light.
One of my magical childhood memories is of building a snow fort at night. My dad declared that the snow was perfect for packing, so we all put on our snowsuits and ran outside. The porch lights were on, but beyond that circle of light was darkness. Very dark darkness. But the lights made the snow sparkle and none of it felt normal. It was magical! But it wasn’t the dark that made it magical; it was the light.
The Power of the Light of the world
Night is when darkness falls, but the best parts of night aren’t about the dark. The moon and stars and candles and even Christmas lights—the lights that shatter darkness’ hold are what we love about night. When we were building that fort, it felt like there were two different worlds, light and dark. We lived in the world of light, and the light kept us safe from the dark.
I was six or seven when I thought that, and I’ve loved the night ever since. For the wonder and power of the light, I’ve always loved the nighttime. And this is the time of year when we celebrate the Light of the world – the Dawn from on high! – that shattered the hold of darkness and keeps us safe. I encourage the joy and wonder that children take in the Christmas lights they see. I know how adept the Spirit is at planting truth in the wonder of a child’s heart. God bless the Light!
Then Jesus spoke to them again: “I am the light of the world. Anyone who follows Me will never walk in the darkness but will have the light of life.”
John 8:12 HCSB