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.
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,