light.

“At that time the Feast of Dedication took place at Jerusalem. It was winter, and Jesus was walking in the temple…” (John 10:22-23)

Tonight is Christmas Eve. Tonight, as occasionally happens, is also the first night of Hanukkah, the Feast of Dedication. The Jewish people celebrate the temple being rebuilt after the Maccabees defeated their Greek conquerors, and the lights in the temple staying miraculously lit for eight days while they waited for supplies in the winter. In the dark and cold, they, like so many others around the world, celebrate light and heat.

And Jesus, as an observant Jew, went down to Jerusalem to observe that feast as well, even though it’s not actually required in the Torah. But He went anyway, and it’s on that occasion that He’s asked by the religious leaders, “If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.” And He almost gets killed by them because He declares His oneness with the Father. The Light that came into the world didn’t get snuffed out, not then. But He eventually would, not long after.

But He still burns, and He still shines. He would not stay in darkness for long, and while He was there He defeated the enemies of God’s people, the true enemies.

The world is still dark. The powers of this world still rage on. But the True Light has come, and He shines on us.

Amen.

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