I think I take it for granted. After all, we live in a world with electricity that works pretty much all the time, unlike in other parts of the world.
Right now it's dark outside, but I'm inside, and I can see perfectly fine. Without it, I couldn't read. I would have trouble cooking. I would trip over the Amazon boxes in my office if I tried to leave the room. Seriously. We need the light.
And so, we use metaphors involving the word "light."
We "see the light" when we have an epiphany.
When we see the "light at the end of the tunnel," we are approaching the end of a difficult situation.
To "shed some light" one something means to explain something in a way that leads to greater understanding.
And when we're "in the dark," we just don't know what's going on.
Isaiah writes, "The people walking in darkness have seen a great light." And I've heard this passage enough times that I know Jesus is considered to be the fulfillment of this prophecy. (See Matthew 4:12-16.)
I've been thinking about this passage for a few days now. The thing is, I think we take the Light for granted. We have just enough light in our lives that we think we see clearly. We think we can see where we're going. We think we know what's happening around us.
It's sort of like when you're reading in the daylight, but the sun starts going down, and you can still see, but you don't realize how the light is disappearing.
John tells us Jesus "was the light of men" (John 1:4-5) that "shines in the darkness, but the darkness" doesn't understand. He tells us that Jesus is the "true light that gives light to every man [and woman]" (v. 9).
Jesus describes himself using bold terms in John 3, stating, "Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds are evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God" (John 3:19-21).
We don't need to fear the light. Jesus didn't come to condemn us, but to save us. "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son, that whoever believes on him shall not perish, but have eternal life" (John 3:16).
He declares, "I am the light of the world" and promises, "Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life."
This is the promise of God through Isaiah, fulfilled in Jesus.
"For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." (Isaiah 9:6)
When I take a moment and think about these descriptions, when I take a moment and think about the Light of the world, dispelling the darkness in my life, then I can't help but celebrate Christmas.