A Celebration of Light

“In him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it….That was the true light which gives light to every man coming into the world” (John 1:4-5, 9 NKJV).
On our return from Bangladesh to the U.S. this fall, we flew through and stayed for a few days in Kathmandu, Nepal. Our arrival there coincided with one of the numerous Hindu holidays — the Festival of Lights.
I know little of the significance or history of this celebration. Externally it features much decoration of the streets and parks, the displaying of lights, and the exploding of fireworks. It is an occasion of joy for those who participate.
Without endorsing any of the idolatrous and polytheistic doctrines of the Hindu faith, I agree with the concept of celebrating light. One has only to read a few words in the Bible to find light depicted as a blessing from God (Genesis 1:3), the essential precondition for all life.
From the beginning humans have utilized and depended upon light for safety and security, for the production of food, and for ease of movement and activity. In its literal physical presence, light is truly a blessing worthy of our thanksgiving and celebration.
But light has even greater significance and deeper reality. In the Bible it is given several spiritual meanings, or is used symbolically of a number of spiritual realities.
“God is light and in him is no darkness at all” (I John 1:5). In this context, John is focusing upon God’s holiness and purity. He is completely righteous and good, with no stain of sin (darkness).
Later, in another of his writings, John shows that God is the source of light, rendering the sun and all other sources unnecessary (Revelation 22:5).
Jesus our Savior is “the light of men” who has come to shine in darkness (John 1:4-5). His person, mission and message brought hope to sinful lost humanity, established and revealed the way of salvation, guiding us back to the Father and his kingdom.
Faithful followers of Jesus are “the light of the world” (Matthew 5:14), positioned on this earth to demonstrate the glory of God. By preaching the gospel of salvation and practicing the commandment, “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:39), those still in darkness may be shown the way.
The Christian faith does not include an annual festival of light. Rather it compels men to continually walk in the light (1 John 1:7), enjoying its blessings, and rejoicing in fellowship with God, Christ, and other believers.

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