// 02 DECEMBER 2013 //

CHRISTMAS is celebrated in so many different ways around the world and yet so easily we forget the true meaning of an event that shaped and changed the world. People of all nationalities and cultures have been drawn to God’s light as revealed in Jesus, whose coming to earth changed and changes the way we think and act.

Light of the WorldThe prophet Isaiah foresaw the coming of Jesus into the world – ‘For to us a child is born, to us a son is given … he will be called Wonderful Counsellor, … Prince of Peace’ (Isaiah 9:6 NIV 1984).

A well-known Christmas carol expresses so beautifully the longing that people still have – ‘Come, thou long-expected Jesus, born to set thy people free …’ (The Song Book of The Salvation Army 79 v 1).

The world has never known, and will never know, a light more powerful than the light Jesus brought. John described it as ‘The true light that gives light to every man, and … the world did not recognise him … his own did not receive him. Yet to all who received him … he gave the right to become children of God …’ (John 1:9-13).

Despite this wonderful reality, there are still far too many people living in darkness and despair, suffering and fear, having lost the will to live, for they see no future. They have lost all sense of purpose and direction because they refuse to turn to ‘the Light’.

The Bible presents Jesus as the coming of light into the world – light which outshines anything we can ever imagine. We are surrounded by flashing lights, neon signs, illuminated billboards – all designed to attract us, to draw us in. But there is no light that compares to the light of Jesus, for it draws us into the joy of knowing him as our personal Saviour.

The impact of Christ’s coming into the world is still in evidence. People are experiencing change and transformation, finding deliverance and freedom, peace and forgiveness. The message of the angels still resonates powerfully in our hearts and lives today.

Christmas is a wonderful opportunity for us to be not only witnesses to ‘the Light’ but also carriers of ‘the Light’. We must celebrate and give thanks for the true meaning of Christmas: ‘He came to give us life in all its fullness … He [‘the Light’] came to banish death and doubt and darkness, He came to set his people free’ (SASB 274 chorus).

May the ‘Light of the World’ shine into your hearts this Christmas – and then out to others so that the world will be a brighter place in the coming year.

May God richly bless you as you join with us in giving thanks to God for the birth of our Saviour.

André Cox