On our first Christmas, when we moved from England to New England, I discovered some of the Christmas traditions I was used to didn’t make it across the pond on the Mayflower. Or at least they have been changed over the years.

Having turkey for Christmas dinner was one of them. As the traditional dish for Thanksgiving a few weeks earlier, I can understand that Americans would not want to indulge in the bird a second time. However, the benefit for our family was that we were able to purchase a turkey cut-price from the store.

Even though I mourned the loss of the tradition of mince pies and Christmas pudding, as well as the Queen’s Christmas Day speech, I relished and celebrated the enthusiasm with which New Englanders adorned their homes and yards with lights and decorations of all shapes and sizes. And no wonder, the winter in New England is long, dark, and cold.

Light changes everything.

The lights of a Christmas tree turn a dreary room into a warm and cheerful place in which to enjoy the long evenings. Twinkling lights outside a house dispel the darkness and gloom of winter nights. Enormous, inflatable lit-up snowmen, santas, and reindeer bring a smile to the face and “oohs” and “aahs” from all ages.

Light transforms

Light transforms our lives in more ways than one.

An understanding that light changes our lives isn’t just an emotional perception, it is an innate part of our being, deeply established within us, because it begins with God who created light. 

And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light (Genesis 1:3).

Light is part of God’s being and purpose. From Creation to Christmas, God’s purpose is to bring light into the world, our lives, and into our hearts.

Isaiah 9:6, proclaiming the birth of Jesus, begins by announcing that Jesus is Light coming into a dark world. 

The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.

When the prophet Isaiah spoke these words of God, they brought a message of hope. God’s people were living in spiritual and emotional darkness having been taken from their land into exile and knowing God’s displeasure. However, God’s loving help and comfort was on the horizon like the rising morning sun. Exile would not last forever.

Matthew repeated the words of Isaiah when he told the story of Jesus’s birth because those words also spoke about Jesus. Jesus would be the Light to all people’s spiritual darkness.

Even Jesus’ birth was announced with light—the light from hundreds of angels singing in the sky, along with a bright star hovering over Jesus’ birth place.

And a man named Simeon, who had been waiting for the Jewish people to be comforted by God and freed from spiritual darkness, bumped into Joseph and Mary holding the baby Jesus in the temple, and he had a light bulb moment! He took the baby Jesus in his arms and prayed: “Sovereign Lord, my eyes have seen your salvation… a light to the Gentiles.”

That’s what salvation is—it is Light. Seeing Jesus as the Light for the whole world, not just the Jewish people, includes you and me. 

Jesus said this about himself:

I am the Light of the World, whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12).

I have come into the world as Light, whoever believes in me will not walk in darkness (John 12:46).

We have had more than a fair share of darkness in the world this year. Our world needs more than twinkling lights outside our homes—it needs Jesus.

Perhaps you have experienced personal darkness this year. Jesus came to be the Light who can dispel the darkness in your life. He can bring you comfort, new life, and a bright future.

The message of Christmas is that Jesus is the Light that changes everything. 


  • Thanks Rachel for illuminating my morning with your devotional. Sunday was 18th celebration of Erika’s heavengoing as I am home recovering from hip tendon repair. In this time of immobility and reflection His Light and Love has been real and present. Your words gave me more on which to ponder. He is Mighty and Sovereign and continues to provide all the Light I need for my next steps. Thanks for the powerful reminder in this Season of Love.
    Donna Eve

    • Donna, even though it has been 18 years, I’m sure it feels like yesterday. Praying that you know God’s comfort and healing during this time and as your body repairs. I was reminded the other day about how much we can lean on and trust God – like a baby sleeps securely in her parent’s arms (perhaps there’s another blog post in that picture)!

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