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The Gift of Christmas Light

Jesus comes to light the way to peace and reconciliation with God.


In his book Every Good Endeavor, Tim Keller explains the three elements of a story. He points out that a story begins when something knocks life out of balance, and things are obviously not as they should be. Then it progresses, or the plot “thickens,” as the protagonists in the story struggle to restore the balance of peace while some antagonistic forces work to thwart their efforts. Finally, the story ends as the struggle results in either the restoration of balance or the failure to recover it.

One of the reasons that we love the stories that mark our Christmas traditions is that they inevitably end in the restoration of peace, and the perpetuation of the Christmas Spirit.

I don’t think I need to issue a spoiler alert but …

  • When the Grinch stole Christmas he gave it back.
  • In the Christmas Story Ralphie gets the Red Ryder BB Gun
  • In the Christmas Carol that old curmudgeon Ebenezer Scrooge embraces generosity.
  • And in Home Alone, Kevin’s family makes it home for Christmas, the bandits are hauled off to jail, and the old man reunites with his family.

We cherish those Christmas stories because they reflect the light and hope that we associate with Christmas. An association we make because of the real Christmas Story, when the protagonist, Jesus Christ, came to light the way to peace and reconciliation with God.

Sin Knocks Life Out of Balance

The story begins when something knocks life with God out of balance. Sin entered the world, and things were no longer as they were supposed to be.

See, we were made to walk in peace with God. But because of sin, we lost the connection. In biblical terms when sin entered the world, the lights went out—and we couldn’t see his way.

From that point forward, everyone is on a hopeless quest for peace. We either sought to work our way to God through religion, or we sought peace in things—money, power, prestige, or people.

I read about a little boy in a Christmas program. His mom feared that he might forget his lines, so she positioned herself on the front row to prompt him. Sure enough, when it was his turn he forgot. So she mouthed the words, but to no avail, his mind was completely blank. Finally, she leaned in and whispered the cue, “I am the light of the world.” The child beamed and with great feeling belted out, “My mother is the light of the world!”

Not quite—people or things don’t light the way. The One who lights the way to peace is Jesus. If we don’t follow that light, we will never know peace, but will always be cast in darkness.

But God stepped into the crisis of darkness and turned the light on.

Scripture tells us what the crisis looked like from the eternal perspective of heaven.

(Read John 1:1-5)

It was on that first Christmas some 2,000+ years ago that everything changed. God who had been hidden by darkness was revealed. The peace that everyone was working for, was now being given away to those who would follow the light Christ.

When Jesus was born, the light came on. John 1:14 says, “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”

The rules of engagement changed. God who was high and lifted up became lowly and could be found lying in a manger. The independent God became a dependent baby. God who was known as Father revealed himself as the Son. The untouchable became flesh and dwelt among us so we could see the way to peace.

The Plot Thickens

As you know the story progresses, the plot thickened as the Light of the world faced the resistance of the darkness. He was tempted in every way just as we are, yet he was without sin. He died a horrible death, and his light appeared to be snuffed out forever, but on the third day God defeated the darkness, the antagonist of death, by the resurrection, and the light came on forever.


Jesus came to us full of grace and truth. The truth is that the light was turned on by grace. And when the light came on once and for all, we could see the way to peace. At Christmas, God gave us the gift of light.

Jesus said in John 8:12, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

We light our candles tonight to celebrate three beautiful truths. First to signify that one silent night Jesus stepped out of eternity and into time to shine the way to peace with God. Secondly, we light our candles in celebration that when we accept the gift of light, by faith, we have peace with God. Third we light our candles in recognition that our peace gives us purpose.


Jesus said that while he was with us he is the light of the world, but when he returns to heaven, the torch is passed on, and we become the protagonists that light the way to peace. Matthew 5:14-15 says, “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.”

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