Picture the scene - The Feast of Tabernacles is in full swing, four giant golden lampstands (they were one of the symbols of the festival) are lighting up the city as the party and celebrations reach fever pitch.
Up steps Jesus, who claims to be a better, all satisfying, longer lasting, dark-destroying light:
"I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life" (John 8:12).
That's a big promise. A promise that at first glance, looks hard to fulfill. For the Jews celebrating at the feast, and for us, the 'four giant golden lampstands' look so much more appealing than the 'Jesus light'. But Jesus is claiming to not just be a better light, but rather THE LIGHT; one that never goes out, that burns bright forever and brings life to all who will receive it.
There's no other 'light' that can do that. Even the sun was put there by Jesus (Colossians 1:16).
All other lights will eventually go out. People will let us down, we will have health problems, we will have seasons where we experience disappointment – in life, lights of promise and expectancy and hope go out - all the time.
But this Christmas, there's the promise of never-ending hope fulfilling light for all of us; a light that shines in the darkest of dark places and that no amount of darkness can extinguish (John 1:5).
And that light is Jesus.
He doesn't need a recharge, He doesn't need batteries, He doesn't just shine bright for the good people. He reaches out to our darkness, our mess, our disappointment, and steps in and brings light.
The promise of Jesus is that whilst your days may not always be 'merry' - they CAN always be 'bright' - bright with the love and hope of Jesus Christ that burns passionately for you and for me this Christmas.
From me, Kate and the team here at the Foundry Church, we wish you a bright, blessed and very happy Christmas - and an amazing 2018.