One of my most favorite things about Christmastime is the lights everywhere--twinkling on the tree, sparkling on homes and streets and buildings, candles shining their warm and steady light.
But the world generally doesn't even know the real significance of those lights at Christmas, that Jesus came to be our Light, to shine on our darkness. Without His Light we are blind and the darkness rules.
So starting today, I'd like to offer you my version of the "The Twelve Days of Christmas," a devotional thought each day for these days preceding Christmas. It's a thankful look at the beautiful gift the Father of Lights has given us.
His light in our darkness
"Behold! My Servant whom I uphold, My Elect One in whom My soul delights! I have put My Spirit upon Him; He will bring forth justice to the Gentiles...I, the LORD, have called You in righteousness, and will hold Your hand; I will keep You and give You as a covenant to the people, as a light to the Gentiles, to open blind eyes, to bring out prisoners from the prison, those who sit in darkness from the prison house..." Isaiah 42:1, 6-7From the time God gave Abraham the covenant promise that in him "all the families of the earth would be blessed" (Genesis 12:3), He meant everyone--the Jewish people and the Gentiles. It was His plan from the beginning to redeem all mankind, all those who would accept it. So in the passage above from the book of Isaiah, written hundreds of years before Jesus was born, we see His promise to give His Son as a covenant to us, our eternal Light.
In the years after Jesus' death and resurrection, the apostles initially preached to the Jews, proclaiming that their Messiah had come. But with broad rejection of that message, the apostle Paul, in obedience to that same revelation in the Isaiah passage, declared that the message was for the Gentiles, too. In Acts 13:47-48, he says,
"...For so the Lord has commanded us: ' I have set You as a light to the Gentiles, that You should be for salvation to the ends of the earth.' Now when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and glorified the word of the Lord."God's great heart from the beginning always was to save the whole world. And now at Christmas, I like to think that the lights of the season are a new invitation to us to open our hearts and receive His Light, the baby in Bethlehem who came for us.