Advent 2022 #1: Christmas Lights

When you’re still waiting for the snow to fall,

Doesn’t really feel like Christmas at all

Being an Australian, I’m never waiting for the snow to fall, but I think the sentiment behind Coldplay’s lyrics is what I’m feeling this December first. Definitely not channelling It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas yet.

But what does Christmas look like, anyway?

Isaiah 60 says See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the people.

Doesn’t really feel like Christmas at all, does it? We don’t really talk about darkness much at Christmas time, but without darkness, putting up Christmas lights doesn’t really make sense.

The light pierces through the darkness.

Isaiah alludes to the darkness of exile that God’s people suffered when they were sent into exile and away from God. Even though they physically returned to Jerusalem 70 years later, they remained in spiritual darkness.

Isaiah 60 proclaims a victory: Arise, shine, for your light has come and the glory of the LORD rises upon you…the LORD rises upon you and his glory appears over you. Nations will come to your light and kings to the brightness of your dawn.

Jesus declared that he was ‘the light of the world’ so it’s not a stretch to say that Isaiah here is alluding to the coming Messiah, born at Christmas time.

Up above candles on air flicker, Oh, they flicker, and they flow
And I’m up here holding onto, All those chandeliers of hope

Nations did come to Christ’s light, even as a baby. The Magi in the East followed a light (aka star) in the sky to worship him. They saw the darkness of the night sky and the contrast of a light shining, like a chandelier of hope. They held onto it and moved forward towards the baby Jesus.

And like some drunken Elvis singing, I go singing out of tune
Singing how I always loved you, darling And I always will

Most Christmas movies have the sentiment that everything will be right again at Christmas time. Not everyone feels like that, though. Some feel more like Coldplay’s drunken Elvis, singing none too well.

Whatever our Christmas feels like (and however in/out of tune our singing), if we too follow the Christmas lights, like the Magi, Isaiah 60 has a promise for us:

Then you will look and be radiant, your heart will throb and swell with joy

Despite the darkness. Despite our moods, which go up and down. Despite our singing ability and despite the weather – snow, or otherwise – we can look for the lights at Christmas time, literally and metaphorically.

And we can pray that we find light this Christmas: the true light of Christmas, Jesus.

Those Christmas lights
Light up the street
Down where the sea and city meet
May all your troubles soon be gone
Oh, Christmas lights keep shining on

Yours in December again,

Alison

Christmas Lights lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Mgb Ltd., Ole Purple Cape Music

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