Saturday, October 25, 2008

The Lights of Christmas

The Lights of Christmas
By David Rupert

Christmas is a season of bright lights. They adorn our windows and our homes. Strings of multicolored lamps festively dance on trees flashing in a thousand combinations. Some blink in reckless abandon, while others flow in majestic choreographed ballets. Some neighborhoods flash like carnivals, while others glow with peaceful serenity.

For me, these millions of bulbs are blessed reminders of hope. They are unwitting participants and visual reminders of the message of Christmas.

The first Christmas lights were the bright heavenly hosts that surrounding the shepherds, trumpeting the manger miracle. An angel comforted them and said “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all people.”

In our nation today, this “good news of great joy” has become an irritant to many. The traditional Christmas story is being carefully clipped out with the sharp scissors of men and institutions bent on ridding our nation of spiritual meaning.

Plato’s wisdom long ago resonates even today: “We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.”

Reacting out of their own fear of the Lights of Christmas, the secularists go one step further and determine to snuff out our lights as well.

The newspapers will be full stories of these light-snuffers and darkness-lovers. Schools will ban carols and plays. We’ll battle over manger scenes on public property.

Christmas cards once were radiant reflections of the hope of the season. Now they are reduced to banalities. Now discount stores sell boxes of green and red cards with such meaningful expressions such as “Joyous Holidays”, and “Season’s Greetings”. For me, the stiff-sounding and just plain boring Winter Holiday can’t hold a candle to the lights of a Jesus-centered Christian.

And everyone from mall clerks to school teachers are afraid of The Light of the simple expression: “Merry Christmas.”

The Good news is that Christmas survives the onslaught of humanism. As our most multifaceted holiday, Christmas is historical in nature, cultural in practice and religious in its significance. It represents the heart and soul of our nation.

In spite of an increasingly secular society’s value imposition on the majority of its citizenry, the Light of this holiday burns brighter yet. It is because as humans, we look longingly into our souls and ache with the pain of need. We need peace. We need joy. We need the lasting gift that is without price. We need light to shine in our dark world.

Listen to the words of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow:

“Then Pealed the bells
More loud and deep;
‘God is not dead;
nor doth He sleep!
The Wrong shall fail,
The Right prevail,
With peace on earth
Good-will to men!”

Society cannot dim the bright light of the True Spirit of Christmas.