Whether you are a Christian or not, in some way or another, you are waiting for some kind of advent–an arrival of something in your life to give you light and hope. Deep down, there is a sense of guilt, shame, inadequacy, and incompleteness in all of us. To solve these problems, we run to money, success, sex, power, control, friendships, acclaim, morality, technology, alcohol, food, exercise or a thousand other things. All of those things are good things. But when they become ultimate things, they will only leave you in the darkness.
The world is dark. We are dark. And nothing in a dark world (including us) can bring us the light we long to see. We need something from the outside.
You get a picture of this longing for light and hope at Christmas in the Coldplay song “Christmas Lights.” It exposes the darkness that lives in us: Got all kinds of poison in, of poison in my blood.
It illustrates the inherent desire in human beings for hope, for light: I am up here holding on to all those chandeliers of hope.
It lays us bare, and reveals that the pursuit of hope in created things—in this case a romantic relationship—will always leave us unsatisfied: And like some drunken Elvis singing, I go singing out of tune, singing how I’ve always loved you, darling, and I always will.
It beckons us look to Christmas for what it is, a day of light and hope: Oh Christmas lights light up the street, light up the fireworks in me, may all your troubles soon be gone, those Christmas lights keep shining on.
God knows we have this need and does not leave us alone in meeting it. But he did not provide a circumstance or event or a system or information. He did not provide something within creation. Instead, he provided a Person who came from the outside, not only to give light, but to be light.
This person is Jesus, and whoever trusts him will not walk in darkness but have the light of life. It’s during this time of Advent we are reminded that we, like ancient Israel, are waiting, too. We wait for Jesus to come back again to finally take all our troubles away. Coldplay’s “Christmas Lights,” whether it knows it or not, is a desperate cry for reconciliation with the Redeemer, who is the Light of Christmas.