Revelation to John 21: 22-25; 22: 1-2, 5 (NIV)
21: 22 I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. 23 The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp. 24 The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendour into it. 25 On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there.
22: 1 Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb 2 down the middle of the great street of the city … 5 There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light.
The Apostle John was given a vision of a new heaven and new earth with a Holy City where “the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God” (Revelation 21: 3).
The imagery in the passage quoted at the beginning of this reflection is of light, not only God’s aesthetically pleasing illumination but a total absence of the things of darkness. “Nothing impure will ever enter (the Holy City)” (Revelation 21: 27); the light has overcome all darkness (a symbol for gloom, oppression, evil and sin).
We recall reference to light in the opening chapter of the Gospel written by this Apostle:
4 In him was life, and that life was the light of men. 5 The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it (or “has not overcome it”) (John 1: 4, 5).
The Hebrew Scriptures record prophets anticipating the coming of God’s light as Messiah. The prophet Isaiah referenced it often:
6 “I, the LORD, have called you in righteousness; I will take hold of your hand. I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people and a light for the Gentiles,” (Isaiah 42: 6).
… 6 he says: “It is too small a thing for you to be my servant to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back those of Israel I have kept. I will also make you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring my salvation to the ends of the earth,” (Isaiah 49: 6).
1 “Arise, shine, for your light has come,
and the glory of the LORD rises upon you.
2 See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the LORD rises upon you and his glory appears over you.
3 Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn,” (Isaiah 60: 1-3).
We of the new Covenant are to be people of the light, as Jesus instructed his disciples in his “sermon on the mount”:
14 “You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven,” (Matthew 5: 14-16).
Be light to those around you this Christmas.