“And God said, “Let there be light.” Genesis 1:3

It was not a capricious decision of God to create light before anything else. Human life is totally dependent on light. On 11/9, 1965, a power grid blew leaving 30 million people in the dark in the northeastern US and Ontario and Quebec. An estimated 800,000 were trapped in subways and elevators. Power was not restored until the next day.

On August 14, 2003, another outage left 50 million with no electricity. It took 2 days to get the lights on again. With all the available technology, they could only wait for the sun to rise.

I remember as a boy visiting my maternal grandparents who still used kerosene lamps to light their home at night. They eventually went to live with Mom’s sister Mary and Uncle Dwight, who did have electricity.

Because we here in America have had the blessing of electric lights for decades, it is easy to forget that a substantial part of the world must build a fire or light torches when the sun sets.

I deeply appreciate the ease of flipping a switch to flood my home with light.

On one trip to Israel, our friend and guide Cecilia Stark, after dinner in our hotel in Tiberius, took us out to sit in beach chairs beside the Sea of Galilee. Such a spectacular night: the air mildly warm, a soft breeze blowing, and the sea like a mirror. In the gathering gloom we peered across to the Golan Heights, where spots of light identified homes.

Cecilia told us there was a time when no lights shone on those hills lest an enemy shell any hint of habitation. Instantly Isaiah 9:2 came to mind: “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.” Verse 6 says, “Unto us a child is born; unto us a son is given.” He is the Messiah, the Light of the World! (John 9:5)Picture1

My friend Homer Martin, now in heaven, taught me that I, who know nothing about cameras, nevertheless have some similarities to a camera. To begin with, nothing happens with a camera until light enters its aperture. In older cameras that used film, light struck a substance that had the capacity to register the image of whatever the camera was pointed at when the aperture was clicked open. Then the image could be reproduced as pictures.

What used to be done chemically is now accomplished electronically (I guess). But the principle remains: light must enter to capture the image.

Picture2God created me—and each of us—with the capacity to receive and reproduce His image. For that to happen, I must allow His Light to enter me. As I focus on Jesus, His light shines into my spirit, creating the likeness of Jesus in my life.

I cannot create His image in my personality apart from the light of His Word and the work of His Holy Spirit. By grace, I can choose to focus on Him; apart from that, I am totally dependent on Him to produce anything good in me. Dr. E. Stanley Jones said: “I thank Thee that when we are exposed to Thee we are enriched. Thou art to us what sunlight is to greenness and growth, what air is to the lungs—Thou art life, and life abundant.”

We enjoy driving around in our area to look at Christmas lights. For me, the simpler, the better. I often wonder if those who make lavish displays know what the lights signify. My mentor Tommy Tyson wrote, “Christmas is the “Far Away God” becoming EMANUEL, “God with us.” As Emanuel, Jesus is: Light coming to our darkness, Health coming to our disease, Life coming to our death, Fullness of purpose coming to our emptiness. Christmas is God becoming One with us in such a way that we can become one with Him.” Hallelujah! The entire West family sends to you warm wishes for a joyous Christmas and a peaceful and prosperous 2018. With much love,

Wayne & Ruth