“You Cannot Light Yourself”

The simplicity of the image amazes me: a candle cannot light itself. The pastor speaks this line on Sunday, and the image won’t leave me for days. I love exploring light in the Bible. Most notably, we hear this around Christmastime from Isaiah 9:2, in reference to the coming savior: “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.”

The reality stands: Isaiah proclaims that “justice is far from us, and righteousness does not reach us. We look for light, but all is darkness; for brightness, but we walk in deep shadows.”

We need this light.

We want to be like David in Psalm 27:1 who cries, “The Lord is my light and my salvation— whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life— of whom shall I be afraid?

The Hebrew translation of “light” expands to include everything from life to happiness; it means everything we need to truly live. Light is truth, wisdom, and meaning. It is salvation. When Jesus now says, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” in John 8:12, we understand this was the light we’ve been waiting for.

We cannot light ourselves.

During this beautiful season, we look at the lights twinkling on trees and outlining homes. We know they testify to the Light of the World.

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