Christmas Eve lights

Candlelight whispers of anticipation. Families drag sleeping bags under the Christmas tree to sleep under sparkling lights. Even traffic on the freeway looks like strings of lights. Light gives hope, the ability to see and choose your direction. And that’s the promise of Christmas Eve.

One of my favorite Christmas traditions as a kid was to open a window in the beautiful Advent calendar each day through December (similar to the one pictured above). Behind each window was a little picture and a verse that told part of the Christmas story. I opened all 24 windows this morning, and remembered how hard it was to only look behind one a day for so many years.

The first window had a verse from Isaiah 9:

The people who walked in darkness
    have seen a great light;
those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness,
    on them has light shone.
You have multiplied the nation;
    you have increased its joy;
they rejoice before you
    as with joy at the harvest,
    as they are glad when they divide the spoil.
For the yoke of his burden,
    and the staff for his shoulder,
    the rod of his oppressor,
    you have broken as on the day of Midian.
For every boot of the tramping warrior in battle tumult
    and every garment rolled in blood
    will be burned as fuel for the fire.
For to us a child is born,
    to us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon[d] his shoulder,
    and his name shall be called[e]
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of his government and of peace
    there will be no end,
on the throne of David and over his kingdom,
    to establish it and to uphold it
with justice and with righteousness
    from this time forth and forevermore.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.”

Light. Hope. The ability to see, change direction, and be saved rather than groping blindly in the darkness. And when I opened the Advent window for December 24, it was from Luke 2:

And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.”

It is such a simple way to tell a story, and yet so much is built on this verse. Hope is born. And He lay in a manger.

It’s almost Christmas…what are you waiting for? Gifts? Direction? Memories? Many years ago the night-darkness was shattered by angels who came to tell the shepherds to stop what they were doing and go and find Jesus. He was the king. The shepherds left the fields and went to worship Him. Will you do the same?

God, thank You for light, and dark. Thank You for the anticipation of Advent, and the calendars that remind us to count down the days. You have come. Thank You! To You be the praise – You came, You lived, You understand our struggles, and You give us a hand to get through them to new life. Hope. Dreams. Light. Wow. Thank You for the beauty of this time. Happy Birthday, Jesus!

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