We had a guest preacher today at church, and in his sermon he brought up an interesting point. Why do we use lights to celebrate Christmas? I don’t mean how did it become a tradition, but why?
His theory is based on the belief that we are created in God’s image, and tend to mirror his nature in our own actions. We can do this consciously or subconsciously, but it is so deeply ingrained in our nature and our being that we can’t stop ourselves. This is widely accepted as true in many ways: we like to create buildings, art, music, and even procreate because we are mirroring God’s creative nature and works. Our roles as parents mirror God’s loving care for His children. I personally think our storytelling tends to mirror the Gospel, especially in the case of fairy tales, super heroes, and mythology, but also nearly any book or film with a well-written plot.
So what does the Bible say about light? Jesus is referred to many times as being light, and the light of the world.
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4 In him was life,[a] and the life was the light of men. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7 He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him. 8 He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light.
9 The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world.
To announce the birth of His Son, God hung a great light in the sky, and surrounded it with angels and the light of His glory. He decorated with lights, and so do we!
Matthew 2:1-2, 9-10
Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, 2 saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”
…After listening to the king, they went on their way. And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy.
8 And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. 10 And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,