Friday, November 25, 2011

Light up Westbury

An edited version of an article for this week's White Horse News & December's News & Views

Hey. I know that this is the “churchy” bit of the paper that you usually skip, but hang on a minute. “I’m not interested in religion.” You might object. Nor me. What I’m interested in is finding light in this dark world. With the bleak economic situation, the news filled with stories of death and destruction, things are pretty gloomy at the moment. Not to mention the added layer of gloom that comes with the clocks going back to the long dark age of GMT.

Will someone please switch on the lights! Speaking of which, this tonight marks the grand switching on of Westbury’s Christmas Lights. Hundreds of people, old and young will excitedly gather in the High Street. Hot drinks and mince pies will be served, maybe even candyfloss. Father Christmas will come to town. And then 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, LIGHT. The once darkened streets of Westbury will suddenly be bathed in the warm glow of the town’s Christmas illuminations.

At this time of year people also make the effort to light up their homes. For some this means a displaying simple Christmas candle arch that flickers away in the front window. Others go for more elaborate displays, covering their houses with the brightly lit icicles, reindeer, snow men, and, of course, Father Christmas. Nice. But I’d hate to have to pay their electricity bill!

It’s no coincidence that Christmas is associated with light. Christians believe that with the coming of Jesus the light of God’s love dawned in our dark world. His birth was predicted in these words, “the rising sun will come to us from heaven to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the path of peace.” (Luke 1:78-79).

Jesus came to break the power of sin and death by his death on the cross and resurrection from the dead. To follow him is to walk in the light. Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12). 

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