|Our little lit-up tree.|
TODAY'S SPECIAL: Isaiah 8:21-9:7
TO CHEW ON: "The people who walked in darkness
Have seen a great light;
Those who dwell in the land of the shadow of death,
Upon them a light has shined." Isaiah 9:2
Those of us who live in the northern hemisphere and celebrate Christmas only four days after the shortest day of the year, easily relate to the promise of Jesus bringing light and being light.
Of course there are some advantages to darkness. Our many hours of it are a wonderful chance to enjoy the pretty lights of the season. Long nights also prompt us to look up at the stars and remember the importance of one star in the Christmas story. But the season's darkness also reminds us every day of how much we need light.
In Isaiah's prophecy about Messiah, our reading today, he predicts that Messiah's coming will bring light.
A brief overview of Bible verses that refer to Christ as the light of the world remind us of the richness of this promise.
- This prophecy is old. Balaam, that ancient prophet King Balak hired to curse Israel (which he wouldn't/couldn't do) delivered this prophecy about a descendant of Israel coming as light while the Israelites were still on their way to the Promised Land - Numbers 24:17.
- Messiah's light is bright according to Isaiah - Isaiah 30:26. Malachi calls Him the "Sun of Righteousness" - Malachi 4:2.
- This light is not only to the Jews but also to the Gentiles - Isaiah 42:6.
- This light comes with healing as well as illumination - Malachi 4:2.
- Matthew quotes our focus verse from Isaiah when he tells about John the Baptist preparing the way for Jesus - Matthew 4:13-16.
- Apostle John in his gospel:
- refers to Jesus as the light - John 1:4,9
- quotes Jesus' bold words: "'I am the light of the world…'" - John 8:12, also John 12:46.
- Paul describes how the light of Christ illumines our hearts and even shines through us - 2 Corinthians 4:6; Ephesians 5:8.
- Someday, Jesus will be the light of heaven - Revelation 21:23.
As we enjoy the lights of the Christmas season, let's view them not only as symbols of celebration but also as metaphors of how Jesus brings light to us. His life sheds light on who God is. His teachings explain to us what living in the light is all about. His sacrifice allows us to be reconciled with God so that clothed in Christ's righteousness, we no longer need to fear the day we will stand before God and under the scrutiny His holy brightness.
PRAYER: Dear Jesus, thank You for coming as light. May Your light sine through me today. Amen.
Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.