Why do people use flashing lights in their Christmas decorations?

Q. I am at a loss to understand the introduction of flashing lights in people’s Christmas decorations. I understand the use of some light: “Lighten our darkness, we beseech thee, O Lord”; “I am the way, the truth and the light.” But nowhere do I see, “And let the lights flash manically!” What think you?

I would say that the most brilliant display of light happened on the very first Christmas, right after Jesus was born and laid in a manger. Luke tells us in his gospel, “That night, in a field near Bethlehem, there were shepherds watching over their flocks. Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared in radiant splendor before them, lighting up the field with the blazing glory of God.”

I don’t think any contemporary display of Christmas lights could approach that. But we may hope that those who seem to want achieve a comparable effect in their displays are doing so with the same great reverence with which the shepherds responded to the angelic proclamation.

Author: Christopher R Smith

The Rev. Dr. Christopher R. Smith is an an ordained minister, a writer, and a biblical scholar. He was active in parish and student ministry for twenty-five years. He was a consulting editor to the International Bible Society (now Biblica) for The Books of the Bible, an edition of the New International Version (NIV) that presents the biblical books according to their natural literary outlines, without chapters and verses. His Understanding the Books of the Bible study guide series is keyed to this format. He was also a consultant to Tyndale House for the Immerse Bible, an edition of the New Living Translation (NLT) that similarly presents the Scriptures in their natural literary forms, without chapters and verses or section headings. He has a B.A. from Harvard in English and American Literature and Language, a Master of Arts in Theological Studies from Gordon-Conwell, and a Ph.D. in the History of Christian Life and Thought, with a minor concentration in Bible, from Boston College, in the joint program with Andover Newton Theological School.

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