The Light of Christ
On the Feast of the Epiphany, we celebrated the truth that Jesus Christ came not only for the Old Testament Covenant people of Israel, but also for those outside of Israel who would place their faith in Him. The Magi were the first Gentile people to whom Christ revealed Himself. How exactly did Jesus manifest Himself to these Gentiles? He did so by a bright star shining in the East above the place where the Christ child was. In other worlds, Jesus revealed Himself to them by a great light. In connection with this face, it is very interesting that in Luke 2:32, Simeon says of Jesus that He is a “a light for the revelation of the Gentiles.”
It should not surprise us, therefore; that the Light of Jesus Christ led the Magi to Him since God is light and in Him is no darkness. We live in a world that has been damaged by sin and darkness as a result of that sin. However, it was not like that in the beginning. God the Father spoke light into existence through His Word (God the Son). God the Son was the light that illuminated the world in its creation.
Even after the Fall of Man, the promise of Jesus’ coming to heal that which was broken was the light that saved all of the Old Testament saints. Then, at the precise time in God’s plan that promised Light came into the world. Jesus Christ is the Light that lightens our darkened souls. His light exposes sin for what it is – lies and ultimately death.
Because of the fact that Christ is the light of the world, the Church has always used many symbols of light in her worship. Listed below are just a few examples of which we all should be mindful.
- The candles on the altar symbolize that Christ is with us the two Eucharistic candles in particular represent the Deity and Humanity of Jesus and also signify that Christ is present in the Eucharist.
- The Sanctuary Lamp in front of the tabernacle indicates the Blessed Sacrament is being reserved.
- The torches that accompany the processional cross represents Christ’s light coming into His House for worship and going out before us into the world in which we are called to share His light with others. The torches also accompany the Gospel Book to show that the Gospel (Good News) is among us.
- The white Christ called candle at the center of the Advent wreath is lit on Christmas to proclaim the coming of Christ into the world.
- The Paschal Candle is the first candle lit on Easter after all the lights have been extinguished on Maundy Thursday to represent the Resurrection of our Paschal Lamb, Jesus Christ, who was sacrificed for the sins of the whole world.
May the Light of Christ, as it did the Magi, continue to lead us and those around us to the Source of our Salvation.