The Night The Lights Went Out On Christmas
Is this the year the lights finally go out on Christmas?
One of the most revered traditions of the Christmas holidays is the candlelight service. Families dressed in their finest clothes gather together in carpools and caravans and stream into churches all throughout the nation and the world to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.
During these candlelight services, individual candles are passed out to all who attend and then are lit from one wick to another until the entire sanctuary brightens with flickering flames.
Collectively, the burning candles provide a powerful symbol of the Light which entered the world through the birth of Jesus. For many, the igniting of the candles provides a moving spiritual experience and is the highlight of the service.
Unfortunately, what happens next is also symbolic of how we as the Church often approach the Christmas celebration.
For practical and understandable reasons, the candles are blown out and these extinguished torches usually are collected on the way out of the church.
Sadly, too often, the true message of this anointed day also never makes it past the church doors.
After feeling we’ve fulfilled an obligation to honor the birth of Jesus through our church attendance–having punched in our time-card–we rush home to our private sanctuaries for our Christmas dinners, our holiday music and the opening of gifts.
But what if, this year, we approached this Christmas in a completely different manner? What if we committed to not only celebrating the birth of Jesus, but also proclaiming it to the world? Not only for one day. But for all days.
Can you imagine if our lights of joy never extinguished at the church doors?
Instead, we took the Christmas message and spilled out of our churches, through the streets, into our neighborhoods, and all throughout our cities and towns illuminating a dark and tired world with the shining brilliance of the Good News.
It would be the night the lights WENT OUT on Christmas.
And I believe it would be a Christmas gift which would be rejoiced in Heaven.
How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, “Your God reigns!”