My husband likes Christmas lights that flash off and on or chase each other. He says they “twinkle” and look great. I say flashing lights or chaser lights are like a visual honking horn that is NOT aesthetically pleasing. I prefer the “steady on” lights. This has been a difference between us for the entirety of our marriage. Now that the newer “fade” lights are on the scene, we have the bliss of compromise.
After the Christmas Eve service, one of our favorite traditions is to pile into the car and ride around looking at Christmas lights. We have several Griswold-esque houses that we like to make sure and see. It is so fun, and sometimes funny, to see the extent to which some folks go with the decorations – all to create joy for themselves and others. My favorites are the decorated houses synched up to a radio station so you can listen to Christmas music while the lights honk (or twinkle) to the beat of the music. It is fascinating to me that people are so creative to come up with such a thing!
There is no limit to the decorating prowess exhibited through people whose homes become an animated, inflatable carnival, or an enthusiastic light display that has no rhyme or reason, or a religious display hailing the birth of the Savior, or a well thought out, magical Christmas-land that takes your breath away. Each display seems to appeal to every kid, and to every kid at heart.
I’m not sure where Christmas lights as a decoration began, and there are several answers to that question in the land of Google. An answer that makes total sense to me, is that first, God illuminated a star in the sky to announce the birth of His Son. Since a star is difficult for mere mortals to recreate, perhaps Christ followers used candles to commemorate the birth of our Savior, Jesus, who came to earth to bring light to the world. Over time, candles would be replaced by incandescent bulbs. Now, lights can be found in about every color and wattage.
Jesus is not only Savior, but also Creator. He is an artist! Because of this, I think He revels in the mixture of kinds and colors of lights used to celebrate His birthday. He created people of all colors, sizes, and languages. He created oceans, lakes, mountains, valleys, deserts, and everything in-between. His living things range from single-cell organisms, to the complexity of humans. Each of these things are His created lights meant to illuminate Him, the true Light. Jesus said “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12) When my kids were young, before we turned the Christmas tree lights each night, we would say, “Jesus is the light of the world!”
Sure, there are those who criticize Christmas lights – they don’t like the colors, or the way lights are hung, or the formality, or the lack of formality, or the honking of flashing lights 😉…but Jesus said that the Light would sometimes be misunderstood or unappreciated. Why? Because light breaks up the darkness and exposes the things that are done in the dark. “And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed.” (John 3: 19-20)
However, we have a great hope through the light of the world, King Jesus, who came to earth as a baby so long ago. He shows us the way to eternal light and life with Him! And He does it in a beautifully colorful way!
As you see Christmas lights this year, think about Jesus the Light, who chases away the darkness in a spectacular way. He brings hope for today, because of what He promises for our tomorrow. So, whether you like colorful, clear, honking, twinkling or steady lights, remember that our Savior, Jesus the Christ, wants to light up every heart through His love that lasts forever and ever!
I am averse to pain. I avoid it at all