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Thought for the month – Christmas Lights

Article posted on 14 December 2018 Leave a Comment

By Rev’d Becky Bevan.

Christmas is coming. Have you noticed?! It’s been coming since early November – or in local pubs and hotels, it’s been coming since August with customers urged to hurry up and book a Christmas table!

Christmas is coming, and from now on the Christmas lights will start going up – switched on in towns with great ceremony; put upon houses, and trees and fences.

Lights and Christmas go together.

Think about the whole tradition of Christmas tree lights. The box brought down from the attic. The lights all tangled up, laboriously untangled, carefully positioned on the tree, the family gathered to watch the lights come on… Only to discover that they don’t work!

It was amusing to hear of a Tesco store in Wrexham which recruited a full-time member of staff just to untangle Christmas tree lights for customers.

You can’t have Christmas without lights.

A few years ago, there was a power cut in the village where I lived which threatened to leave us in darkness for Christmas. It was Christmas Eve and too late to cancel the Crib Service, so we lit every candle we could find in the freezing cold church. We thought no one would come.But over 200 people turned up and together in the power-cut, by the light of candles and torches, it was as if we heard the nativity story for the first time.

We could picture the dark Bethlehem night and the stars in the sky. We could imagine Mary and Joseph in that dingy stable. And as we sang ‘In the bleak mid-winter’ we could sense just how bleak winter is without light.

That Christmas the words of the prophet Isaiahseemed to have been written just for us: ‘The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the shadow of death a light has dawned…for unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given.’

Christmas and light definitely go together. And this is important because sometimes it can seem like the world is a very dark place, and we can look at all the troubles around us and perhaps the sorrows in our own lives, and wonder whether there is any hope.

Christmas says yes there is hope, there is a light that shines in the darkness. God is with us.

At a very dark time in the history of this nation King George V1 finished his Christmas Day radio broadcast to the nation in 1939 by quoting from a poem by a Sunday schoolteacher from Bristol; her words capture this great sense of trust in God’s goodness and light:

I said to the man who stood at the Gate of the Year, “Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.” And he replied, “Go out into the darkness, and put your hand into the hand of God. That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way.”

May the light of Christ be with you this Christmas.

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