Monday Morning Devotion-December 18, 2023
The Lights of Christmas
In Him was life and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it. John 1:4-5
*Reprinted and updated from December 2009.
"It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas, everywhere you go;
Take a look in the five-and-ten glistening once again
with candy canes and silver lanes aglow."
("It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas" lyrics)
Got the Christmas spirit yet? The Decorations are going up all around us. It's hard to be a grump at this time of year, isn't it? Even if everything seems to be going wrong and your day is progressing from bad to worse, once you look around and see the brightly lighted Christmas trees, the wreaths, the silver bells, the carols being sung and notice that one or more of those colorful packages under the tree has your name on it then, you can't be a complete grump. Even old Ebenezer Scrooge couldn't remain a mean old man on Christmas day. That's the magic of Christmas.
"There's a special kind of feeling in the air
It only happens at this time of year.
When everyone is filled with love and cheer
That's what matters."
("Greatest Time of the Year" lyrics)
I really enjoy the lights of Christmas. We ride around and look at all the house decorations throughout the city and view them with the wonder of a child once again. I remember the big event when I was a kid in Macon, GA. The one that signaled the beginning of Christmas for kids was a parade downtown. The last thing in the parade was the appearance of Santa Claus, usually riding in a fire truck. Guess his sleigh and reindeer were getting a tune-up for the big trip they would be making later that month. Santa would disembark and go up on a balcony, pull out what looked like a pistol and fire it up into the air. At that exact moment all the Christmas lights downtown would come on simultaneously and the yuletide season in central Georgia would officially be under way. Let the shopping begin!
The Christmas lights are a big part of the entire celebration especially those on the Christmas tree. As a child I was always fascinated by "bubble lights." These tube-like lights, once they warmed up, send bubbles up and down the tube and each light is usually a different color. Neat, huh?
Those are still around. We don't have any on our tree. In fact, our tree already has all the lights on it. We just take it out of the box. Put about four sections together, plug it in and magically all of them come on. Besides, looking good we don't have to string a bunch of lights on it and put on icicles, and keep sweeping up pine-needles even though real trees look great also.
I'll admit that I like just about any Christmas decoration, but especially the lights. Even though some decorations that I see may look a little shabby or too understated, or some are too gaudy and overdone. They all express the joy of Christmas.
Jesus is the light that shines on us all the time. He's the Christmas light, the light of Easter, the light of the third Monday in the 7th month of the year or the third Tuesday. John wrote that" life was in Him and that life was the light of men." Of course, the uplifting thing about light is that it dispels the darkness. Bad things may be lurking out in the shadows or in the dark, but in the light, you can see what's there.
When John says that the "light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it" that means that evil hasn't and won't ever overcome God's light which is Jesus Christ.
Before there was electricity miniature candles were put on the Christmas trees. Some people still use candles. There is something about candlelight that is special. It's speaks of cozy-ness, warmth, and love. It could also be dangerous if not closely watched as it does present a potential fire hazard.
The first known electrically lighted Christmas tree was created by Edward H. Johnson, an associate of Thomas Edison. This first tree was hand-wired with 80 red, white and blue electric incandescent light bulbs the size of walnuts, on December 22, 1882, at his home on Fifth Avenue in New York City. Local newspapers ignored the story, seeing it as a publicity stunt. Johnson was Vice-President of Edison Electric Company (now Con-Ed). (Wikipedia) But, electric Christmas tree lights remained too expensive for most folks, so they didn't really catch on until about 1930.
I've heard that you need to get out in the country to fully appreciate the brightness of the stars in the heavens. That goes for the moon, too. These are best viewed and appreciated for their brightness out where there's no smog or competition from streetlights, etc. Each star has its own brightness and sparkle.
What really makes Christmas lights special, however, is their purpose. They are used to attract attention to a celebration. It's a big birthday party. The birthday of the Christ Child, the Savior or as John puts it "the light that shines in the darkness" and provides light to all men for all time. That's worth breaking out the best Christmas lights for.
Prayer: The light of Christmas shines more brightly than any light at any time. Happy Birthday, Jesus. Amen!