Now that Thanksgiving has come and gone, it’s time to prepare for Christmas! To do that, this year we’ll be looking at a symbol each week that shows up in the story of Christ’s birth and using it to find out what we can learn about Him and our relationship to Him.
I felt strongly impressed to begin with this wonderful symbol – light. Light plays a beautiful role in Christ’s birth, but it’s also characteristic of Christ’s life. His service, His love, and His teaching emanated light and filled others with light as well. Let’s take a look at how:
Light That Came When Christ Was Born
It’s amazing how true events can still be filled with symbols. The story of Christ’s birth really happened. Mary and Joseph really did travel to Bethlehem, really did stay in the stable, and really did place the Savior of the World in a manger.
The miraculous events that accompanied His birth really happened as well. I think we need to remember this when we talk about His birth. His birth was a celebration, a fulfillment of prophecy, and a foreshadowing of things to come. Light played two parts in the event of His birth, and both parts are some of the more miraculous parts of His birth.
The night of Christ’s birth, the world wasn’t in the happiest of circumstances. The Jews were being oppressed by the Romans, and for generations before that, they had been in bondage to one or another world powers. They were tired of it, and they were looking for a mighty leader to free them.
Their mighty leader didn’t come the way they expected. His arrival was humble and seemingly quiet, though heaven eagerly rejoiced. And instead of the whole world being informed with trumpets that the Messiah had arrived, angels appeared to only shepherds.
And then, a star appeared.
Don’t you love that? The Light of the World was born, and a star was the sign of it. A little pinprick of light was added to the sky, something that might have been ignored by many people. But to the people who saw, that star was life-changing.
The star that appeared the night of Christ’s birth led people to drop everything in their lives to follow it. They believed it was a sign of the Messiah’s birth, and they came to Him when they recognized the sign.
I think one reason a star was used as a sign of Christ’s birth is that Christ became like a star to many people during His life, and He continues to be like one now. He points the way so we can navigate our way through life, relying on His steadiness to always guide us to our destination.
That star didn’t only appear in Judea. It was visible to the whole world, if they took notice of it. But the star wasn’t the only sign of light in the world when Christ was born.
On the other side of the world, the circumstances weren’t much better. In fact, things were pretty bad for the Nephites and Lamanites. Their society was starting to splinter, division and hatred were widespread, and persecution was extremely common. A lot of people had lost their faith in God, in prophets, and in the prophecies of Christ’s coming.
In fact, many of them became so sure that prophets and prophecy were false that they decided to kill anyone who believed that the prophecies about Christ’s coming. They picked a day and told everyone that if they insisted on believing in these prophecies, they would die on that day.
When that day came, the believers were understandably scared. They’d believed and waited for so long, and now they weren’t sure they would live to see the prophecies fulfilled. The prophet, Nephi, prayed and was promised that the prophesied sign of Christ’s birth would come that very night.
13 Lift up your head and be of good cheer; for behold, the time is at hand, and on this night shall the sign be given, and on the morrow come I into the world, to show unto the world that I will fulfil all that which I have caused to be spoken by the mouth of my holy prophets.3 Nephi 1:13
And it did. Just when the unbelievers were ready to start killing people, the sun set – and it didn’t get dark. Instead, “it was as light as though it was mid-day,” (3 Nephi 1:19) even though the sun wasn’t up. It stayed bright all night, and in the morning, the sun rose again.
The unbelievers were so surprised by the sign that they were convinced of how wrong they had been. They did not kill the believers that night.
Again, when Christ came into the world, He brought light with Him. And in this case, the light wasn’t only a sign that fulfilled ancient promises, but it was also an act of deliverance. It saved the lives of many people that night and foreshadowed the role of Christ as the Great Deliverer.
The Light of the World
Christ Himself stated that He is “the light and the life of the world” (3 Nephi 11:11). He created the world, He sacrificed for us, and He’s the reason we can have hope and light in our lives today. His hand is offered to us, and His light lives in our hearts.
The star and the day, night, and day without darkness are not just signs of His birth. They are signs of who He is. A Guide, a Deliverer, an Illuminator of Truth. There’s so much to learn about Him from just these two testimonies of light.
An interesting thing that Christ taught during His life is that we are also “the light of the world” (Matthew 5:14). When we choose to follow Him, we carry and share His light with others around us as well. There are so many ways we can share His light, from service to listening to bearing testimony. His light lives in us, and He gives us His light abundantly.
One way we can share Christ’s light this season is through Light the World. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints puts out this challenge each year to help bring light and love to the world. Each day in December, just do one act of kindness and love. This experience brings light to you and to others. You can find out more at lighttheworld.org.
That’s my challenge to you this week – join in with Light the World and take some time to think about how Christ has brought light into your life. You’ll be amazed at what comes to mind.
Want to Read More Like This in Seeking Christ?
Read This Series:
Christ’s Birth Part 2: Lamb and Shepherd
Christ’s Birth Part 3: The Donkey
Christ’s Birth Part 4: Infant and Parents
Other Articles You Might Like:
Merciful Gifts from God in 2020
5 thoughts on “Christ’s Birth Part 1: Light”