Remembering the Light of Christmas
Light is such a marvelous thing. It’s something that we don’t always appreciate or admire its beauty. Think about it: without light, you would not be able to see. In a way, it creates. By shining, it establishes what God created in this world. You begin to see shapes, colors, and depth. Light begins the new day. The creation story starts with light.
In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters. Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. And God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day. -Genesis 1:1-4
On the first day, God created light. Light is distinguished as different from darkness. God identifies lights as good. The darkness was preexisting as primordial chaos. He separated and then created light. Out of the darkness, God brought forth light.
Light serves as an important symbol during Advent. We light the Advent candles, attend our candlelight Christmas Eve services, hang lights around our Christmas trees and outside of our homes. Light is everywhere. Especially at Christmas time, we take time to appreciate and remember the light of this world: Jesus.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things come into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the light of life of all people. The light shines in darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it…The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. -John 1:1-5
The first chapter of John is on of my favorite passages in the Bible. It is poetic, lyrical, and uses language from the Torah. The opening of the gospel according to John echoes the beginning of Genesis. John positions the story of Jesus as a retelling of Genesis. The “Word” in the first couple of verses in Genesis is logos in Greek, the original written language for the New Testament. Logos is a title for Jesus. In ancient Greek philosophy, the stoics believed Logos was the thing that kept the world going, also understood as God’s wisdom. The Logos is God who came down to earth. The light that God created in Genesis is Jesus. And God saw that the light was good.
The gospel of John heavily features symbols, specifically light and darkness. John sets up the prologue in John 1:1-18 to demonstrate that Jesus came as light and John the Baptist came to testify the light. He uses it again in 8:12 when Jesus says “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.”
Light brings hope and goodness into the world that nowadays seems to be in a constant position of negativity and hate.
Many churches follow the practice of lighting the Advent Wreath during this time. The Advent Wreath’s candles represent the feelings of this special season for each Sunday of Advent: hope, faith, joy, and peace. The fifth candle, the Christ candle, lit on Christmas Eve or day represents light. By coming into this world, Jesus hope, faith, joy, and peace in a world that was also filled with violence and animosity.
Celebrate the lights in your life, the things that give you hope and that make you feel loved. Advent is a time to share the light of Christ with all, and to remember why the coming of Jesus gave us all something to celebrate and adore.
Whatley Hamilton // @whatleyhamilton
Hi girlies! My name is Whatley Hamilton, born and raised in Nashville, TN and just graduated from Furman University, majoring in History and Religion. On any given day, you can find me drinking English Breakfast Tea, reading a good book, and listening to true crime podcasts! My favorite things to talk about are whales, my basset hound Louis (@louisthebassethound), and random biblical history facts. I love building and sharing in community, pouring into the lives of young women, seeking to find themselves and their relationship with our sweet Lord! I can’t wait to spend the next couple of months with you.