Every Christmas, but especially this Christmas, in light of the release of the block buster movie series, the Star Wars trilogy, The Force Awakens, we celebrate the ‘Light of the World.’
We get excited about the beautiful Christmas lights because we can see the excitement of Christmas in the lights. The Christmas lights serve as symbolic reminders of Jesus, “The Light” of the world. In fact many religions celebrate lights around this time of the year, for instance the Jewish celebration of Hanukkah, is a festival of lights.
It all started for Christians with the birth of ‘the Light of the World.’ In Titus 2:11-12 we read, “For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age.”
Learning to live in the light isn’t easy. Titus 2 tells us, “God is ready to give and forgive now even in public.” All relationships with God are out in the open, and directly between God and the individual. Often (though not always) we can see love, peace and forgiveness in the air everywhere at Christmas. The season reminds us salvation is available to everyone!
What I love most about Christmas, is that the Baby Jesus’ birth brought great light into the world, even the stars shone brighter that night. This reminds us of what it takes to turn our backs on the darkness of godless, indulgent living and instead turn toward the light of a God-filled, Christ-honoring life.
At Christmas, we examine our past year’s performance. In order to throw off the old life in anticipation and preparation for the new one, the force awakens. Born anew we actually start a new life, whetting our appetites for the glorious day when Jesus will re-appear to take us home with Him.
Jesus as the light offered himself as a living sacrifice to free us from the darkness of our sins, our rebellious lives, and turn us towards a better and brighter path, one more exemplary of pure life on earth. The light-force awakens us and turns people from darkness towards ‘The Light’ of the world. As people of the light we become energized spirits in search of goodness and righteousness for all.
The doctrine of grace and salvation is for all people, regardless of their backgrounds and living conditions. It challenges us and it teaches us to forsake the darkness of sin and become a part of the birth of the great ‘Light of the world.’
A material Christmas doesn’t suit a heavenly called person because Jesus as the light shines inside our consciences and makes us more aware of what is good. We look to Christ, and see God as the object of our hope and worship, and especially so during Christmas.
Our duty, in few words, is to deny ungodliness and worldly lives and instead live righteously, and godly lives, all in the light of Christ. This is when ‘the force awakens,’ and it teaches us to look for the good in others; then the glories of life turn into moments we see the hope of Christmas, which is to see the glorious appearance of, ‘The Light.’
Jesus comes to us as Lord and Savior, and saves us as God on earth, not as a common man, but the “God-man.” Only Christ had both natures in one person. He used them to love and to forgive. He gave himself as a living sacrifice. How can we as Christians, let ourselves do less than love and give ourselves back to Him and others?
Redemption from sin and sanctification go together, and they make for a peculiar people; former sinners who have turned to God. People set free from guilt and condemnation, new people purified by the Holy Spirit. All Scripture read properly is profitable, but the passage in Titus 2:11-14, furnishes all the requisite parts of our duty, and how to properly carry them out.
When we are removed from our boastings about our good works, and trusting in them; we become a zealous light-force that awakens to the power source in us. We, too, become ‘the baby lights’ of the world, abounding in great works for God. At this moment, ‘The Force Awakens.’
The Rev. R. Joaquin Willis, D. Min., is pastor of the Church of the Open Door UCC in Miami’s Liberty City community. He may be reached at 305-759-0373 or email@example.com.