The Brilliant Light of Christ Shines With Hope and Guides Us Onward

Even in the darkest of times, the brilliant light of Christ shines with hope and guides us onward. Let us turn our hearts upward and worship him!

I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk
in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.
John 8:12

It was an unexpected gift at the end of a very long day and a twenty­-one-hour flight. I and my team from Life Outreach Ministries had landed the previous evening in Luanda, the capital of Angola in Central Africa. We were there on a mission to meet with elders in various villages and talk with them about their most immediate needs. Due to an extended period of drought, food supplies had all but dried up, and many of the children were victims of severe malnutrition.

Our partners in Southern Africa had produced an oatmeal-like soup that contained vital nutrients and vitamins that children in that part of the world so desperately needed, and we would be able to bring it to their villages. It was the best news to share. Literally, life in a bowl.

The following morning, we were up and on the road by five a.m. I’m pretty sure the shock absorbers on our jeep may have worked well in the 1950s, but they were struggling to work for us. After several hours of banging my head on the roof of the jeep as we drove across the arid land, we came to our first village. Through our interpreter, we asked the village chief for permission to camp there that night. Knowing that we were there to help support the children, he graciously said yes.

That night I took my sleeping bag outside of my one-person tent, lay down, and gazed up at the night sky. It was breathtaking. I saw what Abram must have seen.

Then the Lord took Abram outside and said to him, “Look up into the sky and count the stars if you can. That’s how many descendants you will have!” Genesis 15:5

The Light of Christ

As I gazed up at the stars that night, I thought about the ancient visitors who were guided by a star and brought their gifts to the Christ child. The Greek word magoi used in Matthew 3 is translated as Magi or wise men. These men came from the east, probably from Babylon or Persia, a journey of more than five hundred or six hundred miles. They were not Jews waiting for the Messiah; they were men of science who studied the stars.

In his fascinating book The Star of Bethlehem: An Astronomer’s View, Mark Kidger points to something that occurred in 7 BC, two years before the year most scholars agree Christ was born. The planets Jupiter and Saturn passed each other three times that year. That December, when they passed each other for the third time, they met and then parted slowly. Jupiter, the largest planet in our solar system, was considered a sign of royalty. Saturn, the second largest, was seen as a sign of protection. There is an ancient Jewish saying that God created Saturn to protect and watch over Israel. To those who studied the stars, the message was clear: a King is coming to protect God’s people.

In 5 BC a brilliant star shone for seventy days, and it is thought that this is likely the time when the Magi began their journey to Jerusalem. In most nativity scenes, they are depicted at the stable with the baby Jesus, but that’s not what happened. By the time they arrived in Bethlehem at the home of Joseph and Mary, Jesus was no longer an infant. The Greek word used to describe Jesus in Matthew 2 is not the word that means “baby” but rather the word for a child or toddler.

Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star as it rose, and we have come to worship him. Matthew 2:2

In summarizing all the events that took place in the heavens, Mark Kidger writes, “We find a series of events so unique that they can happen together only once in every several thousands of years.” These men of science took great risks, traveled a great distance, and gave extravagant gifts. In the presence of this tiny King, they bowed down and worshiped.

How can we do less? Even in the darkest of times, the brilliant light of Christ shines with hope and guides us onward. Let us turn our hearts upward and worship him!

In His Word

Take a moment today to read Matthew 2:3-6. Reflect on the meaning and implication of this scripture and what it means to you.

In Your Life

  • Have you ever been inspired to pray or worship by God’s beautiful creation? His creation is really a gift, if we start paying attention to it in our daily lives.
  • How are you preparing your heart this year for Christmas? Are you reading through each Gospel’s Christmas story or following an advent calendar?

We Recommend

Are you interested in learning more about the original Christmas and preparing your heart for Jesus’ birth this year? Check out Sheila Walsh’s book The Gifts of Christmas: 25 Joy-Filled Devotions for Advent.

Let’s Connect

Sheila Walsh, a Bible teacher, beloved speaker, and acclaimed Christian author is known for her impactful and relatable messages with readers seeking encouragement and hope. To connect with Sheila, visit her website or follow her on Instagram and Facebook. You can also SIGN UP for daily inspiration or JOIN in a Journey with Sheila through Advent This Christmas!