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“Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence”, Traditional Carol performed by Keith & Kristyn Getty and JJ Heller.
Light of Light
There is an old Irish Christmas tradition, brought by travelers across the Atlantic Ocean to the New World. A candle would be placed at the window, a light to break through the dark of the winter night and guide family and guests safely inside. Even the smallest light can be seen for miles.
Light carries inside it the paintbox of all creation. All the colors our eyes can behold are brought to us in waves of light, giving shape and contrast and life to everything we see. When Jesus tells us, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12), he speaks not only of a rescue from darkness but of an invitation to life in full color, life that meets the soul’s deepest longings.
Each Christmas, around the winter solstice, God calls us to let the light of his truth into our hearts anew—and also to let it out. Our songs, our homes, our work, our lives can become an even brighter candle in the window, an invitation to others.
The hymn “Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence,” originally penned in the fifth century, speaks with ever fresh color into our moment in time:
Rank on rank the host of heaven
Spreads its vanguard on the way
As the light of light descendeth
From the realms of endless day
That the pow’rs of hell may vanish
As the darkness clears away
We can see the darkness pressing, pressing, pressing in all around this world. But the Light doesn’t just descend and make a little space in the shadows. He comes to clear the darkness completely away. We are small. Our flesh, our homes, our endeavors are so fragile. But the treasure Christ has placed within his people is an inextinguishable, ever-growing light. And each carol of Christmas joy we sing is a light dispelling the darkness of hell.