It was a Christmas Eve tradition: Mama would dress my brother and me in our candy cane striped pajamas (my brother denies the pj’s, but I’m 95% certain we had them. I think we had matching caps too!). Daddy would pack us in the car, and we’d drive through beautiful neighborhoods and look at Christmas lights. Back then, the lights were the real deal – no multi-colored string of lights flashing to the beat of some hip-hop Christmas song.
These lights were luminaries: a layer of sand in the bottom of a white or brown lunch sized paper bag, with a candle placed in the sand. Many of the bags had Christmas designs cut into them – Christmas trees, Santa Claus or stars. The bags were placed along walkways and the candles were lit.
As we drove, I would peek out the car window, watching people walk from one circle of light to the next. Just when I thought they would have to walk in darkness, we’d slowly round a corner, and another luminary would be there to brighten the path. The warm, golden glow from the candles radiated out a few feet, lighting the way.
Those were REAL luminaries. But, if you want to read about a TRUE luminary, you must begin in story of creation.
“God made the two great lights, the greater light to govern the day, and the lesser light to govern the night; He made the stars also. God placed them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth.” Genesis 1:16-17
The lights and stars God placed in the sky are luminaries, or light-bearers. Their purpose is to provide light to the earth. And so it has been throughout scripture.
“Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw His star in the east and have come to worship Him…the star, which they had seen in the east, went on before them until it came and stood over the place where the Child was.” Matthew 2:2, 9
The Wise Men were guided by the eastern star to the baby Jesus. The light of the star led them to The Light.
“Then Jesus spoke to them saying ‘I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in darkness, but will have the Light of life.’” John 8:12
Jesus is The Light who illumines the earth.
“I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things for the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, the bright morning star.” Revelation 22:16
The morning star (generally Venus) is the first star to appear in the east before sunrise. You’ve perhaps heard the phrase “It’s always darkest before dawn.” That’s when the Morning Star really shines – when the world is dark. Jesus provides light when we need it most.
[tweetthis]It’s simply beautiful, isn’t it? And beautifully simple. Jesus IS our true Christmas light[/tweetthis].
God placed the stars in the sky to light our way. He gave us Jesus, the bright Morning Star, the Light of the world, to do the same. Jesus illuminates our path and guides us, even through our darkest days.
Son of God, love’s pure light…
Until next week,
My family once bought a house in a neighborhood that used milk jugs to make special outdoor lights for Christmas. To buy a house in that neighborhood, you had to agree to make these lights and line your driveway with them at Christmas. Although I thought it was a grueling task, the results were spectacular! Jesus is the amazing light of our lives, illuminating our paths every day. Beautiful post, sweet friend:)
Milk jugs…that would be interesting! And beautiful, I’ll bet! What a great memory Kristine!
Ellen, this is so utterly lovely! I love the image of the luminaries, but the gospel shining with Christ’s light and glory that illuminates our hearts and world can never be surpassed! This post lights up my heart this morning as I contemplate the heart of the Christmas season! Blessings to you! Visiting from #raralinkup today! So happy I did!
I’m so glad you stopped by today Kathy! Every time I see the name of your blog, it brings a smile to my lips and heart! Thank you for your encouraging comment. Blessings to you today, sweet friend!
Ginger Harrington says
I love learning about different family traditions at Christmas. What wonderful memories of this tradition you have. I light candles all through Christmas as a celebration that Christ is indeed the light of the world. Linking with you at #TestimonyTuesday.
Thank you for your encouraging comment, Ginger. I appreciate you visiting today. I love your tradition of lighting candles as a remembrance of Christ’s light! Grace and peace to you today, friend.
Thank you for this encouraging reminder, Ellen. Yes! Jesus is the True Christmas Light! There is so much hope in the Morning Star showing up when it’s the darkest. No darkness can win over His light!
Amen, Trudy! Thank you for visiting today. Blessing to you, my friend!
Valerie Sisco says
I remember luminaries in my neighborhood growing up, too — they were so magical and pretty! (And your pajamas sound adorable too!) Oh I love your reminder that Jesus will light our way on our darkest days, for always and forever! xoxo
Luminaries are magical and beautiful, aren’t they? Their glow warms the heart, like the light of Christ in us! Thank you for your encouragement, Valerie! May His light shine through you!
This warmed my heart so, Ellen. Memories of family holidays are precious, but the memory of The Light outshines all other memories. Thank you for this.
Amen to that Karlene! Thanks for stopping by!
“Love’s pure light.” <3 He is our all in all, isn't He. Our hope, our joy, our strength…our light. He's so worthy. ~ Thank you for sharing, Ellen. Hope you have a wonderful Christmas. ((hug))
Thank you for visiting Brenda! Merry Christmas to you, sweet friend!
I love this beautiful thought, reminding us that Jesus is the light of the world. Definitely something we can be encouraged by all season long as we see the many, many Christmas lights shining in darkness : )
Thank you for your sweet comment Meredith! I’m so glad you visited. Yes, with all the sparkling lights we see this season, we can remember that Christ is our Light!