The Light Dances
By Anthony Casperson

Darkness abounds. A spark births light. Match to wick, the candle stands aglow. As the flame dances, the room illuminates in beauty. Rhythmic flickerings reveal the surrounding truth.

The sight of a candle this time of year is common. Many participate in Advent, preparing to celebrate the first coming of Jesus. Those of Jewish heritage light the menorah, reminded of God’s provision in the restoration of the Temple during the time between the testaments. Some use scented candles to perfume their homes. And others use the wax-covered wicks to set a certain mood.

Images of candles come in other forms, such as plastic-covered lights and mere visual representations. Even the various little lights that adorn Christmas trees represent the tiny candles that rested upon the boughs when the tradition began.

In the season where darkness is the most prevalent, we invoke the candle and its light. But the funny thing is the purpose and beauty of the flame is lost when our invocation takes place amidst the daylight and our well-lit homes.

It’s when darkness abounds that the beauty of flame atop candle radiates its most brilliant. It’s when all other light is lost that the dancing spark becomes the center of our world. Our desensitization to the darker aspects of life (especially in this season) robs us of a beauty bestowed by even the smallest of lights.

Jesus came as the light of the world. Into the darkness of our sin-filled existence. God, enfleshed in a tiny human body, birthed to illuminate the world. Revelation of the truth of God laid in a feeding trough in a cave. Far from the comforts of home, both heavenly and earthly, the beauty of God’s plan rested.

A young couple, who’d likely never live down the scandal of their firstborn’s birth, forced to travel because of governmental callousness. And it wouldn’t be the last time they’d be forced to vacate their home, as one of the governors sought to murder the light in their arms.

Darkness long sought to snuff out his radiance. Death would follow Jesus until the day he sacrificed himself to end the tyrannical reign of the dark. The world illuminated in his godly beauty as he hung upon a cross.

The majesty of the first coming of Jesus pales if we forget about the pervading darkness. If our focus is only on the good, happy, and pleasant things. We can almost forget about his reason for coming, when we act like the world was lit up already. His light becomes merely a tradition or pleasant ambiance when we call for the whole world to smile along with us.

As we find ourselves in the time of Christmas, let’s not forget the difficulties of life and the darkness of the world around us. Let the light of Jesus dance as the beauty of God in full splendor.