Around this time of the year, we see different kinds of decorations in our neighborhoods, shops and everywhere else. Most of the decorations are lights of different colors, they make the surroundings look beautiful and illuminated. It reminds us that Christmas is here; but have you really thought about the meaning of the lights? Is it just a décor, or does it have significance in the celebration of Christmas; the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ?
The birth of baby Jesus was prophesied in Isaiah 9:2 – “The people who walk in darkness will see a great light. For those who live in a land of deep darkness, a light will shine”. When Mary and Joseph presented Jesus in the Temple as the law required, Simeon (“a man righteous and devout and was waiting eagerly for the Messiah to come and rescue Israel” – Luke 2:25 NLT), praised God saying “He is a light to reveal God to the nations” – Luke 2:32 NLT. When Jesus entered our world as a baby boy, everything changed. God came into this world, clothed in human flesh, He brought the light of His truth, glory and hope. Jesus, called himself the light of the world – John 8:12 NLT – “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life”.
What did Jesus mean by He is the light of the world? Light symbolizes truth. Jesus shows us the truth about God that He is both the God of justice and the God of mercy, the God who wants to save, the God of love. Jesus also shows us the truth about ourselves. Apart from God, we might think we are good, or better than others, but really, we are all living a life of sin, just in varying degrees; we are in darkness, and live in filth and squalor. When we are not connected to God, even our religious knowledge and activities are shallow. We are sick with various kinds of self-righteousness and have superficial understanding of ourselves and others. We need the light of Christ to see who we really are. Light also symbolizes direction. Our direction should not be to condemn others. Our direction should be like that of our Lord Jesus, to serve people, to be compassionate and supportive. Our direction should be to tell people about how we have experienced God’s grace and mercy. And how we found strength to leave the life of sin by the power of the Holy Spirit which comes to dwell within us when we accept Jesus as our Lord and personal savior.
In John 8:12 quoted above, Jesus is giving us the option to make the decision to follow Him or not. If we don’t follow Him, we walk in darkness. If we follow him, we have the light of life. He is the light of the world, and He is inviting you and me to follow him. When we follow him, His light shines on us, exposing our sin and our need for a savior. When we follow Jesus as the light, He leads us and we don’t have to control everything ourselves; we surrender to His Lordship. Following him means listening carefully to His teaching and trying to live by it. Following him means centering my life on Jesus, not on myself. We live in a “me first” culture. We can bring this mentality even into our ideas about Church. We attend Church only if it meets our needs, only if it fits me, only if I feel good there. While Church does need to minister to our needs, the real emphasis should be on following and serving Jesus, not on our individual needs. Ultimately, following Jesus means imitating him. But we can’t really do that in our own strength. We need God’s Spirit living in us to conform us more and more to the likeness of his Son Jesus. “The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you” – Romans 8:11 (NLT). The more we follow Jesus, the more our inner darkness subsides, and the more we have the light of life within us that fills us with true joy, love and hope.
So as you prepare to celebrate Christmas, as you enjoy the beautiful lights on the Christmas trees, be reminded of the time when God, in His Son Jesus Christ, chose to enter our world, share our pain and forever defeat evil and death. Follow Jesus and love God, love His people and be transformed to serve.
December 11, 2022 – Pastor Christina Nyen-Adom