I have a thing with lampposts. Something about a few tiny flames, barely protected from the elements, precariously perched on a pillar of iron, yet giving light to anyone who passes within it’s reach warms my soul.
I had a lamppost at my wedding. The one decoration of any significance was a tree, decorated in silver globes and paper cranes of silver paper standing next to a massive rented lamppost. We stood on the cusp of Narnia and our new lives together as people came through the receiving line. As the anniversary of this auspicious day is a week before Christmas, and therefore pending, I tend to feel drawn to these unassuming bastions of light.
I feel like the flame within, struggling to stay aloft in the midst of sleet and fog and even summer rains, yet firmly supported by the solid foundation beneath me. And no matter how dark the nights get, they alone cannot extinguish the lamppost’s light.
There is a phase in scripture, John 1:5 to be precise, describing the advent of the Son of God, the Light of the World.
“And the light shineth in the darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.”
I’ve long pondered this phrase that personifies the forces of a darkening world and increasing evil. It presumes that darkness is darkness because it does not understand light. If Mary and Joseph and Elisabeth her cousin all knew of the sacred nature of the child she carried, then how could the forces of darkness not know? Yet, with the simple birth of a baby, an every day miracle that goes mostly unmarked by those it does not directly impact, darkness was dispelled.
And it had no idea.
Suddenly, in the midst of sheep and cattle, a celestial flame arose. A tiny light flickered into being, driving back the night’s black and there was nothing the dark could do, but retreat. Like on a dark street, where every dozen feet or so, a parade of small lanterns light the way, our Savior’s light gives direction even in the midst of darkness. A lamppost does it’s best work in the darkest times and places. It is most valuable to those beset by night.
I like to think that as we plug in the Christmas lights we carry on this tradition of beating back the darkness. I like to think that our daily, often precarious, walk with God does a little to dispel the gathering gloom. I may flicker sometimes. I certainly have this year. But I’ve yet to snuff out. And that gives me courage to burn a bit brighter.
May your season be full of light of all kinds, my friends. Merry Christmas.