As a child I always looked forward to our Christmas eve traditions. After eating Chinese food, we would all pile into the car and drive around looking at Christmas lights as we sang Christmas carols. There was something so beautiful about the way the lights filled the darkness and made the cold winter air feel just a little warmer. Even now as an adult I love Christmas lights. One of my favorite things to do each year is sit in our living room with a cup of hot cocoa and admire our Christmas tree after the kids have all gone to bed. For me light is an important part of the holiday because of it’s symbolic allusions to Christ.
I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.
And now, my son, I have told you this that ye may learn wisdom, that ye may learn of me that there is no other way or means whereby man can be saved, only in and through Christ. Behold, he is the life and the light of the world. Behold, he is the word of truth and righteousness.
The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?
The scriptures are filled with similar references to light. Our hymns reference light as well. My favorites include “The Lord is my Light“, “Lead, Kindly Light“, “You Can Make the Pathway Bright” and “With Wondering Awe“.
What is it about light that makes it special?
For me light is a powerful metaphor. I spend my time at work thinking about the physics of light and how it will help me create my artwork. During the summer I am careful to notice how much sunlight my garden will get each day. And each morning I walk around our home opening curtains to allow light to fill it. Light is a life giving force that surrounds us and makes our very existence possible, so it is easy to see the comparison to Jesus Christ. In fact, it is the light of Christ that fills the immensity of space, turns our hearts to good, and prepares us to understand the promptings of the Holy Ghost. It is cellular and cosmic all at the same time. Nothing is more beautiful than light, especially to those in darkness. Why? Because light gives hope. Hope is longing, a desire, or secret wish for all that is good. When we dare to hope we become filled with light. Hope allows us to act in faith.
Jesus Christ is the source of all hope
What better symbol of hope can we find that the infant Jesus Christ? I am sure Mary and Joseph could feel the infinite possibilities that lay ahead as they gazed upon him. I know I have felt a portion of this looking at my own children. How great must have been their joy? How great is our joy when we come to understand that it wasn’t his birth, but his sacrifice that would make him the literal embodiment of hope?
And my Father sent me that I might be lifted up upon the cross; and after that I had been lifted up upon the cross, that I might draw all men unto me, that as I have been lifted up by men even so should men be lifted up by the Father, to stand before me, to be judged of their works, whether they be good or whether they be evil—And for this cause have I been lifted up; therefore, according to the power of the Father I will draw all men unto me, that they may be judged according to their works. And it shall come to pass, that whoso repenteth and is baptized in my name shall be filled; and if he endureth to the end, behold, him will I hold guiltless before my Father at that day when I shall stand to judge the world.
As if that wasn’t enough, His life would exemplify hope in every way. He would give sight to the blind, heal the lame, and even raise the dead. He would teach, feed, and forgive. Finally, he would descend below all things providing the ultimate hope; that death could no longer be the end of life. He is hope because his promises are always kept, and his presents always near for those who seek him.
Wherefore, whoso believeth in God might with surety hope for a better world, yea, even a place at the right hand of God, which hope cometh of faith, maketh an anchor to the souls of men, which would make them sure and steadfast, always abounding in good works, being led to glorify God.
Christmas can light our path into the new year
It is my hope that whatever you stand in need of this Christmas you can find it in Christ. His love will illuminate the darkest corners this world has to offer. Following Jesus will fill our hearts with hope, and help us build the faith we need. Christmas is the season to reaffirm our commitment to Christ. By doing so, we can learn to love as he did, we can become like him.
Wherefore, my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ; that ye may become the sons of God; that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is; that we may have this hope; that we may be purified even as he is pure. Amen.