My journal rests forgotten on my lap, pen poised without words to record. I am mesmerized by light as flames dance in the fireplace, flickering into the shadows of a room otherwise lit only by Christmas lights.
I’m not sure if there’s anything scientific about our fascination with light. I know in winter there are people who suffer from S.A.D., Seasonal Affected Disorder, a form of depression that improves significantly with exposure to sunlight or other bright light. I wonder if there’s any connection between the winter solstice and people’s desire to brighten their homes and neighbourhoods with an abundance of lights at Christmas.
Around here there are festive lights outside and in – little twinkle lights in greenery on mantels, windowsills, and above the kitchen cupboards, and LED lights on the tree. Outside there are more along the roofline, around the front door, and wound round and round the railings on the back deck. I love the twinkle and glow of lights at Christmastime. They turn the ordinary into something magical, especially in the snow.
(These pictures are of Christmas 2008… the year of our “big snow”.)
Each Sunday in our church a child comes forward at the beginning of the service and lights a candle. “Jesus is the light of the world,” he says before we begin our worship.
The image of light recurs in scripture frequently – Jesus said that he is the light of the world and those that follow him will not walk in darkness but have the light of life; he tells us that we are also to be lights in the world, shining so that others may see God reflected in us and give him glory.
These aren’t new revelations, but at Christmas time we see them more clearly because we are focused on Jesus, on how and why he came to us. At Christmas time we surround ourselves with light as a reminder that he whose birth we celebrate came as a light into our darkness. It isn’t magic. It’s the Gospel.
In the glow of firelight I return to my writing, remembering why I love Christmas lights.
John 8:12, Matthew 5:14, Philippians 2:15, John 12:46