- Holidays and Celebrations
For Me, Christmas Is Light
A Warm Glowing Light, on a Cold Winter Night
I have always connected Christmas with light. Light is warm and welcoming, and that is how I like to think of Christmas. Light is repeated throughout the season: Christmas tree lights, Christmas stars, Christmas candles, Candlelight ceremonies.... I suppose it is perfectly fitting since Christmas is the day Jesus was born, and Jesus is the "light of the world".
Keep your eyes open this Christmas, and I hope that you, too, can appreciate the Light of Christmas this year.
Lights on the Christmas Tree
The tradition of decorating a tree with lights for Christmas, is believed to trace back to Martin Luther. According to the legend, while coming home one evening through a forest in Germany, Martin Luther was struck by the beauty of a fir tree and stars in the sky. He wanted to tell his family about the beauty of it, but could not find words that could capture the sight, so he brought a tree into his home, and in order to simulate the stars, he added small candle tapers. The legend also says he did this in as a tool to teach the children about the majesty of Christ's birth.
The popularity of the lit Christmas tree grew during the Victorian era, as did many other Christmas traditions.
The first known electrically lit Christmas tree was the creation of Edward H. Johnson, an associate of inventor Thomas Edison, in 1882 in New York City.
And the rest is history.
Santa Lucia Day - Luciadagen
Santa Lucia Day (Luciadagen) is celebrated on December 13, in Sweden, Denmark, Estonia, Norway, Finland, Italy, Bosnia, Iceland, and Croatia, and parts of the United States. December 13, by the unreformed Julian calendar, is the longest night of the year. Santa Lucia day celebrates Santa Lucia (Saint Lucy), a young Christian martyr who lived in Cicily in the fourth century. She was known for her love and kindness.
Santa Lucia is celebrated with a procession and ceremony of light. A girl representing Santa Lucia wears a crown of candles and clothed in white, is followed by a group of other girls each carrying one candle, and sometimes boys dressed in white with white pointed hats called "star boys". They sing to the melody of the Neapolitan song Santa Lucia, and the ceremony concludes with the singing of Christmas Carols.
The name 'Lucia' comes from the latin noun 'lux', meaning 'light', making the festival of light celebration especially appropriate. In many countries, Santa Lucia Day serves as beginning of the holiday season.
When a manger is shown at Christmas, it often includes the three wisemen who followed a star to find the Christ-child. According to Matthew, the magi were men "from the east". We don't know exactly how many there were, and we don't know exactly when they found Jesus, but we do know it was not the night of his birth.
The manger is a symbol of that blessed night - not a photograph of it. It celebrates the entire story. The star shining brightly, leading the magi to the Lord would have been an awe inspiring sight.
The Moravian Star
The Moravian Star, also known as the Advent Star or the Herrnhut Star, originated in a Moravian Church school in Germany, in about 1850, probably as a geometry lesson. It was quickly adopted as a traditional symbol of Advent by the Moravian Church, and has remained a tradition Europe and America ever since.
Christmas Carols & Hymns of Light
(Photo by Pedro Angelini)
- Angels from the Realms of Glory
- As With Gladness
- Break Forth, O Beauteous Heavenly Light
- Bring Your Torches
- Carry the Light
- Christ is the World's Light
- Go, Tell It on the Mountain
- Hark the Herald Angels Sing
- I Want to Walk as a Child of the Light
- O Little Town of Bethlehem
- O Morning Star, How Fair and Bright
- People, Look East
- Savior of the Nations, Come
- Silent Night, Holy Night
- The First Noel
- The Light of the World is Jesus
- The Star in the East
- We Three Kings
Christingle means Christ-Light
The Christingle has its origins in the Moravian Church. The legend tells of Pastor John, in 1747 Germany, who created a symbol to help teach the children about Jesus' love and the true meaning of Christmas. Pastor John gave each child a lighted candle wrapped in a red ribbon, with a prayer that said "Lord Jesus, kindle a flame in these dear children's hearts".
The Christingle has evolved over time to be more elaborate and symbolic. The modern Christingle consists of:
- an orange -> the world
- a red ribbon -> the blood of Jesus
- a lighted candle -> Christ, the light of the world
- fruits and sweets on 4 skewers -> God's good gifts: the fruits of the earth and the four seasons
- The skewers are arranged in a way that from above they form the cross.
- Tin foil around the base of the candle -> reflects Christ's light and goodness
How to Make a Christingle
Devotionals on Christmas Light
- At Christmas - Light Overcomes Darkness
Today's Devotion by Pastor Richard J. Boeck, Jr.
Children's Books on Christmas Light
High in the mountains lies the town of Noel, surrounded by beautiful white walls and a great silver gate. Every year Alexander and his mother walk the long distance to Noel to watch the lighting of the village Christmas tree. This year Alexander learns that the Keeper of the Flame will choose the person who has given the truest gift of Christmas to light the flame. On his way to Noel, Alexander helps a poor old man he finds lying in the snow. His act of charity is rewarded when he is chosen to light the Christmas flame. Alexander learns that it isn't what you have to give, but how you give of yourself that matters most.
Bible Verses on Light
And God said, "Let there be light," and there was light. -- Genesis 1:3An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. -- Luke 2:9
Your sun will never set again, and your moon will wane no more; the LORD will be your everlasting light, and your days of sorrow will end. -- Isaiah 60:20
You are my lamp, O LORD; the LORD turns my darkness into light. -- 2 Samuel 22:29
The LORD is my light and my salvation- whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life- of whom shall I be afraid? -- Psalm 27:1
Send forth your light and your truth, let them guide me; let them bring me to your holy mountain, to the place where you dwell. -- Psalm 43:3
You are resplendent with light, more majestic than mountains rich with game. -- Psalm 76:4
When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." -- John 8:12
Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim you, who walk in the light of your presence, O LORD. -- Psalm 89:15
Even in darkness light dawns for the upright, for the gracious and compassionate and righteous man. -- Psalm 112:4
"You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven. -- Matthew 5:14-16
After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen in the east went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. -- Matthew 2:9-10
Thomas Kinkade Christmas Tree
The Painter of Light
Thomas Kinkade is known as the "Painter of Light", and the joy of Christmas Light is certainly portrayed in these pieces:
The Lighting of the Advent Wreath
Peace, Hope, Joy, Love
Advent is the season leading up to Christmas Day. I many countries throughout the world it is tradition, both in families, and in churches, to light an Advent Wreath.
The Advent Wreath is comprised of four candles in a circle (three purple, and one pink). These candles are lit, one a week, for the four weeks before Christmas (Advent). Sometimes a fifth "Christ Candle" in the center of the wreath is lit on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.
The candles represent Hope, Peace, Joy, and Love, with the pink candle (joy) being the third.
More Advent Candle Resources