We have these shorter days lately so light becomes a bigger deal. We’ve also experienced the season of Diwali, known as the “Festival of Lights”, recognizing the five-day Indian festival. There are a variety of stories of its origin but the basic theme is good over evil. Then we see signs of Hanukkah, an eight day celebration. It is also spelled Chanukah and is another festival of light that commemorates the rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem after dispersing the occupying Greek armies. Again, light over darkness. My neighborhood has been all a-twinkle since late fall. Light over darkness.
Jesus is the light of the world. Again, God incarnate trumps a vague ‘good over evil theme’ and some soldiers beating on some guys. If this were a regular column I already know who would write to chew me out, but this is too important to miss. Why is a baby in a manger the greatest story ever told? Firstly, we all love a love story. Luke 1:79 reads, “To give light to those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.” A central truth of our Christian faith affirms that God took human form in the body of Christ. Christ was both fully human and fully God at the same time. This is a math story problem that cannot be explained. Sometimes we Christians try to correct Jesus on the human 100%. For instance, through my church advent reading I have been listening to lots of Christmas music and I’ve picked out a few things. In Away in a Manger, Jesus is described as ‘no crying He makes’. Hit the buzzer. If Jesus is/was the Christ the Son of the Living God, I think He would be the loudest baby in the manger nursery. God was flexing His tiny new vocal cords for the first time ever. God is good at everything He does and would have been good at crying. That is how babies communicate. A good baby is not a quiet baby although a quiet baby is a convenient baby. There could be something seriously wrong and no one would know if the baby does not cry out.
We don’t know much about the childhood of Jesus other than His upbringing created a man of sorrows and He experienced every struggle. He did so without sinning. He was a humble and forgiving boy because He was a humble and forgiving man. He was unlike anyone and only He entered our cosmos on a rescue mission for humanity. The overcoming of evil in Diwali is man’s dream. The overcoming invaders to protect places and people should bring peace but we know those border struggles keep happening. I won’t explain salvation again but a very real savior came into the world so we turn up the lights. We also turn up the volume because until all hear of Jesus, we might hang twinkly lights for the joy of light but we could miss the light that saves. We are all in the shadow of death and we all long for a real peace – both solved for us by Jesus. Go tell it on the mountain.