John 8:12 – When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." (NIV)
I have had the opportunity of being in Israel twice, and have looked out over the shepherds' fields. I was filled with excitement at the site. My thoughts turned to that night 2000 years ago. Luke described this night in the special words of today's scripture:
Luke 2:8-11 – And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. (KJV)
Having read the age-old words of the proclamation of the birth of Christ, we leave the shepherds' fields and come to realize that tomorrow is Christmas Eve. This year, Christmas Eve is a Sunday. In churches where the Advent wreath has formed a part of the preparations for Christmas, we will light the white candle, which is known as the "Christ candle".
White is a symbol of the purity of Christ's sinless life, the true Godhead from whom the cross springs forth for each of us.
This is the last candle to be lit. Advent for this year will once again have passed, drawn to completion with the arrival of Christmas. The light from this candle announces the light we draw near to, for it is in Christ our Saviour that we see and experience the true spirit of Christmas.
For many this is so, but there are those who do not know Christ has come. They have missed Advent, and there is little hope for them, unless, with this Christmas "present", they grasp the true meaning.
The lighting of the Christ candle symbolizes the fulfilment of the promise God gave to us. A Saviour was born — a child — "who is Christ the Lord".
Prayer: As we celebrate the birth of Christ, help us be ever mindful of the joy we have, in being filled with the Holy Spirit. You come to each one of us in the coming of Your Son. We have indeed been blessed, in the light of the Christ candle. In His name we thank you, Lord. Amen.