The lights of Christmas, the light of Christ

To find the promise of the season,we may need to look at the remarkable events of the first Christmas in a new way—with spiritual sense.

When I was a child, the lights were what I enjoyed most about the Christmas season—outdoor colored lights, Christmas tree lights, floodlights, festive streetlamps, and candles (even if they were electric) in the windows of neighboring houses. In contrast with the crisp winter air and the early nights, to me the lights made every house seem a home and gave our small town a feeling of community that it didn't have at any other time of year.

It was the real candles, though, that I loved best. On Christmas Eve, after my father had read aloud the Christmas story from the Bible, we children would make our way to bed by candlelight. In its quiet, gentle way the candlelight created a mood of sacredness; we all whispered as we moved up the stairs and into our rooms. Then we would crawl into bed, and I can remember thinking more than once in the few moments before my parents came to blow out the candles, that a candle flame was probably all the light there would have been in a stable in Bethlehem almost two thousand years ago.

December 21, 1987

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