The star of Christmas was a brilliant sign over Bethlehem that guided wise men from the East to worship the new born King of Kings, who was and is the one eternal Star. The prophets foretold the coming of a Savior, the light of the world who would dispel all darkness. “A Star shall come out of Jacob; a Scepter shall rise out of Israel.” Malachi 4:2
Indeed when Jesus began his public ministry, during the Celebration of Lights he declared that he is the light of the world. Chanukah, The Feast of Dedication, commemorates a Jewish revolt of the Maccabees courageously refusing to worship Antiochus who had desecrated the Holy Temple. As prophesied by Daniel the Syrians were defeated miraculously by this small renegade band 165 years before the birth of Christ. During Chanukah, the Jewish people celebrate the cleansing of the Temple when the Menorah lights miraculously burned for 8 days with only one day supply of consecrated oil.
With His proclamation Jesus testified to a far greater miracle of an eternal light. Isaiah spoke of this new dawn when neither the sun nor moon would be required. Jesus said that He and the Father are one, and that He had been anointed to preach good news to the poor, to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners. (Isaiah 61:1- 2; Luke 4:18 – 21) Only the Son of God can be this light, a living Menorah, the divine light incarnate.
Christmas celebrates not merely the Virgin birth to Mary, nor simply the pronouncement by the angelic choir singing to Bethlehem shepherds, “Hosanna in the Highest”, nor the journey of Magi bearing regal gifts for the baby born in a stable. Christmas celebrates the prophetic fulfillment of God’s promise of a Savior, the light of the world. “In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.” John 1:4 What is most amazing about the Christmas miracle is that it is the precise fulfillment of hundreds of prophecies spoken by God through the prophets centuries before Jesus was born!
Jesus’ saving light is available to everyone who receives His sacrificial gift of grace. Of all the gifts that can be given, there is none greater than to lay down one’s life for another. Christ was born to give His life that all people may be freed not only from darkness on earth, but from eternal darkness. Paul confirmed, “For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ made His light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.” II Corinthians 4:6
Gloria Gaither’s song of dedication, “I Then Shall Live”, intones an impassioned prayer, “Your kingdom come around and through and in me; your power and glory, let them shine through me.” This Christmas receive the light of Christ and let it shine through you to those blinded by artificial lights, to those wandering hopelessly in darkness, to those seeking the one true light of hope, joy, peace and everlasting life.