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Untangling Christmas Lights - Advent Devotional - December 27

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Untangling Christmas Lights
By Meg Bucher

“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 NIV

The frustration was audible before I stepped into the garage, and the delay evident by the lack of Christmas lights adorning the roofline. “These were expensive LED lights,” he exclaimed in frustration, “I just bought them last year and they are supposed to last ten years!”

The epic struggle to adorn the house in twinkling lights for the holidays isn’t tragic, but it can be frustrating. When we don’t get what we paid for, worked hard to accomplish, or get done in the time we allowed, our patience is tested! Far beyond the topic of exterior illumination for Christmastime are the struggles and heartaches that this season tends to drag to the surface.

In our homes, communities, and countries lie the scars and struggles of this harsh earthly life we are all wading through. As Christians and believers in Christ, we carry a flicker of light through all of the frustration and darkness. A hope that carries us through grief and hardship, especially when magnified by the holiday season.

Light of the World, inspirational image

In ancient Biblical times, Jewish tradition lit up the city of Jerusalem during festivals. Light signified positivity, and most importantly, Isaiah spoke of the Messiah that would be a light for all the nations. As the pillar of light led the Israelites through the desert at night, so Jesus leads us through the darkness of this world. And when we follow Him, as today's verse states, we have the “light of life.” Following Christ leads others to Him, because the change in us beams out noticeably.

“Light” is intentionally capitalized in this verse, because it refers to Jesus, one person in our triune God. The Greek word is “phos,” meaning light. It can be used literally and metaphorically in this context. God is the source of all light. Genesis 1:3 reads, “And God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light.” John 8:12 is one of the seven “I am” statements Jesus made. At the time He made this statement, large menorahs illuminated the temple in remembrance of the fire that led the Israelites through the desert at night. The light also signified the coming Messiah, and “after seven days of dramatic illumination in the temple,” states the Moody Bible Commentary, “Jesus declared, ‘I am the Light of the world.’”

Christ, the reason for the season, permeates the presence of Christmas lights. Like the rest of the hustle and bustle of the season, the lights are meant to remind us to celebrate, not replace the reason we celebrate. Keep finding silver linings and holding on to Him for the hope we need to walk on through the dark and heavy pressing of this world. The joy Jesus died to give us isn’t a fleeting happiness that denies the hardships of this world. Christmas, and all of the twinkling lights, reminds us of our reason to celebrate despite of it. Our joy as believers cannot be stolen, though we mourn and grieve, endure pain and strife. Joy is a product of the greatest expression of love there has ever been: Jesus.

Jesus is the light of the world. There with the Father when light, and each one of us, was created. His love and care for us is unexplainable, but it is palpable. Though we trust in an unseen God, we feel His presence and care. He is close to the brokenhearted, and blesses us beyond all we can dream of or imagine. Those who follow Him witness the way He connects the dots of our everyday lives like untangling a hopeless strand of old Christmas lights. Living in the light reminds us there will be a day when we no longer need to hold onto the light for dear life, but will embrace Him in it for eternity.

Twinkle on, Christmas lights. But even when you’re unplugged for the season, we will hold your brightness in our hearts.

Meg Bucher writes about everyday life within the love of Christ. An author, freelance writer and blogger at Sunny&80, she earned a Marketing/PR degree from Ashland University. Her first book, “Friends with Everyone,”  is available on Meg leads/teaches Bible Study in Women’s and Youth Ministry. Living in Northern Ohio, she’s been wife to Jim for a decade and counting, is mom to two tween daughters, a distance runner, photographer, and avid Cleveland Browns fan.

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