On this 18th day of Advent, Norman Vincent Peale celebrates the lights—and the Light—of Christmas.
Each year, in the late-November evenings as I make my way to Marble Collegiate Church on New York City’s Fifth Avenue, I notice the first signs that Christmas is coming.
Stores begin to sparkle with festive lights. Their show windows gleam with lighted Christmas displays. And from hundreds of apartments and offices, high above, Christmas lights glow across the night sky.
In my memory, lights have long been an important part of Christmas—from the time when my mother used to put lighted candles in the window, to the days when my own youngsters and their mother and I would set up the Christmas tree in the living room and string it with all kinds of yellow and blue and red and green lights, to today when we watch our grandchildren do the same.
And, of course, on that first Christmas night it was a brilliant light that lit up the countryside and startled some shepherds as they got the first news that the Savior had been born in Bethlehem.
The Old Testament prophet Isaiah first put light and Christmas together. Looking far into the future, he wrote: “The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light; they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.”—Isaiah 9:2.
The meaning of his words became clear when, seven centuries later, a man named Simeon saw the Christ Child and exclaimed in prayer: “I have seen the Savior You have given the world. He is the Light that will shine upon the nations.”—Luke 2:30-32.
This Christmas let’s turn on the lights and let them radiate out in glowing celebration. For that’s what the celebrating is all about. Light has come! Wonderful, Counselor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace—Jesus Christ, the Light of Christmas, has come!
This story first appeared in the December 1973 edition of Guideposts.