I enjoyed Pastor Elphick’s message last Thursday that referred to Thanksgiving as the start of the holiday season. The beautiful brass band ended the service with a medley of Christmas carols letting us know that those of us who haven’t already been listening to our Christmas playlists for the past month can start now.
On my drive home that evening from our family gathering I saw many houses already had their Christmas lights shining on Thanksgiving Day. It seems appropriate since all our festivals—Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, New Church Day, and even every Holy Supper and Sunday worship—are giving thanks to the Lord for bringing His love and light into this world.
Perhaps it is in Providence that Christmas coincides with Hannukah, the Festival of Lights. The Lord joined the Hannukah celebration at the temple in Jerusalem (John 10:22) shortly after declaring Himself to be the Light of the World (John 9:5) and giving sight to a blind man, facts recalled by the season’s lights on our houses and trees.
Many prophets told of the light that the Lord was going to bring into the world. Their prophecies were fulfilled with the glorious light shining on the shepherds and the star that led the wise men point to the Lord as the one who gives light to everyone who is born (John 1), and the light that the shepherds and wise men saw were themselves prophecies of more light to come.
For You will light my lamp; The LORD my God will enlighten my darkness. (Psalm 18:28)
Oh, send out Your light and Your truth! Let them lead me; Let them bring me to Your holy hill And to Your tabernacle. (Psalm 43:3)
Unto the upright there arises light in the darkness; He is gracious, and full of compassion, and righteous. (Psalm 112:4)
The entrance of Your words gives light; It gives understanding to the simple. (Psalm 119:130)
The people who walked in darkness Have seen a great light; Those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death, Upon them a light has shined. (Isaiah 9:2)
Moreover, the light of the moon will be as the light of the sun, And the light of the sun will be sevenfold, As the light of seven days, In the day that the LORD binds up the bruise of His people And heals the stroke of their wound. (Isaiah 30:26)
I will bring the blind by a way they did not know; I will lead them in paths they have not known. I will make darkness light before them, And crooked places straight. These things I will do for them, And not forsake them. (Isaiah 42:16)