Many years ago there was a festival in Jerusalem, called the 'Festival of Tabernacles'. In the evening they had a lighting ceremony called the 'night of illumination'. Everyone crowded into the courtyard of the temple; they all carried candles with them and 4 giant candles were lit. Some said that there was enough light to fill every courtyard in Jerusalem!
It sounds wonderful. But, like all festivals it was coming to an end. The lights were coming down. They were getting back to 'real' life. Did the lights really have to go out?
As all the festivities were winding down, the lights still vivid in people's minds, Jesus enters the scene and says these words to the crowds that gathered: "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life" (John 8:12). In other words, Jesus is the light we need for LIFE! Enough light to fill not just every courtyard but every life. 'Festivals of light' will come and go, but Jesus is the light that keeps shining, because Jesus IS that light.
While festivals are good for a time, the lights eventually have to come down. What then? We all need a light to live by, and not just at Christmas, but all year round. Something to guide us, to help us see clearly with the right perspective, to help us not to stumble in our choices, to see the right way to live and, most importantly, to know who God is. Without it we feel as though we are fumbling around in the dark, fearful of what might be there, worried about the future.
Just after the festival, Jesus met a blind man. He had been blind from birth. He was forced to beg. He couldn’t work. No prospects. No future. No hope. A man truly in darkness. Again, Jesus reminded His followers once more saying, “I am the light of the world” (John 9:5), and then He turned to the man and healed his blindness! Instantly he could see for the first time! Imagine what joy that man must have felt. His life was changed forever. It must have felt like the first day of the rest of his life. Later Jesus went looking for that man so he could have the opportunity to know Jesus personally. Only then would have the 'light of life'.
Jesus came so that the same joy can be experienced by all of us. Without God showing us who He is, we are just guessing, but Jesus has open our eyes and turned on the light. Jesus came to help us see and know God personally, to know there is a God who loves us, and wants us to be free from the darkness in our lives. Everyone who follows Jesus will "never walk in darkness but have the light of light".
This Christmas season, why don’t you investigate for yourself who Jesus is. Read one of the eyewitness accounts of His life in the Bible (the gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John), and ask Him to give you "the light of life".