The story of the light that burned in the temple in Jerusalem for eight days, even though there was only enough purified oil for the lamp to burn for one, will be told next week as the Jewish people remember and marvel at the miracle that took place after the Maccabees defeated the Syrian-Greek army and chased them out of the temple. They will celebrate the light for eight days by lighting a candle on the Menorah each night. Do they recognize the significance of the light? Do they know that their Messiah was sent to earth as the "Light of the world"? Even as they celebrate the light, Christians are preparing their hearts to receive the Christ child who came as the "Light of Life."
Light was so important to God that it was the first thing He spoke into existence at creation. "Now the earth was formless and empty; darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. And God said, 'Let there be light,' and there was light." (Genesis 1:2-3) At the fall, when darkness tried to overcome the light, God put a plan into action to bring the world an eternal light. That light was to be brought to earth through His Son whose light is pure and so magnificent that it lights up all of heaven. Revelation 21:23-24 talks about this: "The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives the light, and the Lamb (Yeshua) is its lamp. The nations will walk by its light..."
In a discourse with his friends, Job told them how he longed for past days when God's "lamp shone upon my head and by His light I walked through darkness." (Job 29:3) The light of Yeshua is meant to dispel any darkness. Isaiah saw a day when many people would come to the "mountain of the Lord" so that they could be taught by the Lord and "walk in His paths." Isaiah 2:5 encourages the people of God: "Come, O house of Jacob, let us walk in the light of the Lord." Isaiah prophesied about the birth of a Savior and the light He would bring. "The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned." (Isaiah 9:2)
Not only does a bright light dispel the darkness, it also reveals hidden beauty and draw us to look at it. Think about how the light passing through raindrops or mist allows us to see the spectrum of color in a rainbow. Ezekiel had a vision of the Son of God and talks about the brilliant light that surrounds Him. He says, "Like the appearance of a rainbow in the clouds on a rainy day, so was the radiance around Him." (Ezekiel 1:28)
There is a blessing for those of us who recognize the Light of the world and praise His glory. I like the way this is described in the Amplified version of the Bible. "Blessed (happy, fortunate, to be envied) are the people who know the joyful sound...They walk, O Lord, in the light and favor of Your countenance! In your name they rejoice all the day, and in Your righteousness they are exalted. For You are the glory of their strength (their proud adornment), and by Your favor our horn is exalted, and we walk with uplifted faces!" (Psalm 89:15-17) May all of us have a revelation of His glorious light and be transformed by its purity and brilliance as we worship Him.
Joan E. Mathias