Image source: RestoreCommunityChurch
In ancient Rome and across Europe, the people celebrated the return of sunlight at the end of December, by a week long festival honouring their gods Saturn and Yule. Part of the celebrations involved burning a large log of wood (the Yule log), and large public fires (bonfires) where people would gather and party through the night.
It is understandable that people would go crazy, celebrating the return of sunlight. It was freedom from staying indoors and from depression; where there is no sunlight, plants die, hunger grows, so it was a celebration that another farming season is coming. Burning the Yule log and bonfires in the long cold dark nights of Europe got people drunk with excitement, just like Christmas lights do to us today. The Christian Church made the people to see that there is an even greater light to celebrate.
Isaiah 9:1-2 (New Living Translation) says: “Nevertheless, that time of darkness and despair will not go on forever. The land of Zebulun and Naphtali will be humbled, but there will be a time in the future when Galilee of the Gentiles, which lies along the road that runs between the Jordan and the sea, will be filled with glory. The people who walk in darknesswill see a great light. For those who live in a land of deep darkness, a light will shine.”
Matthew 4:12-16 (New Living Translation) adds: “When Jesus heard that John had been arrested, he left Judea and returned to Galilee… first to Nazareth, then… Capernaum, beside the Sea of Galilee, in the region of Zebulun and Naphtali. This fulfilled what God said through the prophet Isaiah: “In the land of Zebulun and of Naphtali,beside the sea, beyond the Jordan River, in Galilee where so many Gentiles live, the people who sat in darkness have seen a great light. And for those who lived in the land where death casts its shadow, a light has shined.”
Wow, wow, wow – Isaiah prophesied that Israel, will see a great light coming from Galilee, 700 years before Jesus was born, and it happened. Sunlight nourishes us physically, the power and teachings of Jesus nourishes our body, soul, and spirit. If humanity got so drunk celebrating sunlight, how much more should we rejoice celebrating Jesus the great light. The teachings of Jesus, applied in the Spirit of Jesus, have made the world a much better place.
This Christmas, celebrate Jesus the great light; God bless you richly, Amen!