It is the season of light! The lights of our varied traditions—religious and otherwise—can be found shining and twinkling in shops, through windows, and from trees large and small, both indoors and out.  Houses are decked out with every kind of fanciful display. Electronic billboards have gone completely festive.

The bright blue lights of Hanukkah grace many windows in our community—and one can watch the menorah candles being lit, one by one, over the eight days of the Jewish holiday. In many Christian churches the Advent candles are symbols of hope, love, joy, and peace—and the expectancy of Christmas and the celebration of the birth of the Christ child. In the shortest and darkest days of the year, it is through the symbol of light that we celebrate those things we hold most important.

“Let there be light” are the very first words spoken by God in the Genesis account of creation. Is there any phrase in the scriptures more foundational and essential? It is both a command and a promise—the first building block of life.

Much later, the prophet Isaiah tries to explain the significance of light when he says,  “The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined” (Isaiah 9:2).

That we can experience light amidst the darkness is reason enough for celebration, but it is not enough that we just SEE light. Our real purpose is to BE the light: “The candle of God is the soul of man” (Proverbs 20:27). The promise of the season of light—regardless of religious traditions—is that we actually become the “candles,” the light that illuminates our world, before which darkness flees.

To be God’s candle. Can there be any greater calling? And reason enough for this season of light.