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The real lights of Christmas - Chester Cook

One of the most beautiful and alluring aspects of the holiday season is the illuminating glow and sparkling shine of holiday lights.

Light is an amazing substance. It is the emanation of energy. Light exists in tiny "packets" that emit bursts called photons.

Light exhibits properties of both waves and particles. Every time an atom moves, it emits light.

Your body is a radiant eruption of light when viewed through an infrared lens. From a scientific and sacred viewpoint, light is an extraordinary proof of God.

From the supernatural appearing of a great star in the sky over Bethlehem, to the miraculous flame of an oil-filled menorah, the lights of Christmas and Hanukah remind us that God is present.

Starting on the 25th day of Kislev of the Jewish calendar, Dec. 12th, and lasting eight days to Saturday, Dec. 19, the Jewish holiday, commemorating the rededication of the Holy Temple, is observed.

Hanukkah, a Hebrew word for "dedication," marks the rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem after its desecration by the forces of the King of Syria, Antiochus IV Epiphanes.

According to the Talmud, at the rededication, there was only enough consecrated olive oil to fuel the flame in the Temple for one day.

Miraculously, the oil burned for eight days.

The festival is observed by the kindling of a light called a shamash, for the purpose of lighting the eight lights of a special, eight-branched candelabra called a Menorah. One light is kindled on each night of the holiday, progressing to eight.

The mysterious Bethlehem star was a celestial phenomenon that astronomers admit occurred around 4 AD. The heavenly light marks an event so profound that it attracted the attention of Persian scientists and foreign kings.

And today, we celebrate the Light Of The World by decorating our churches, synagogues, homes, tables and Christmas trees.

Think about the world, and consider how light works to bring forth warmth and color and vision. Now, consider how light works in such a way as to generate life and sustain life.

Now, ask yourself, why?

Why? Because we all are made in the image of God, the source of light. We are all sacredly connected to the source of light.

"I am the light of the world." John 8:12.

If you have any comments on this column, please contact me at chaplain@airportchapel.org.