Christmas and the Pillar of Fire

[Exo 13:21 NLT] 21 The LORD went ahead of them.  He guided them during the day with a pillar of cloud, and he provided light at night with a pillar of fire.  This allowed them to travel by day or by night.

The people of Israel were on their way out of Egypt and finally out of captivity.  They had received instructions on what the first Passover was to be like, and when they celebrated it, the Israelites led by Moses left Egypt; Scripture describes the exodus of the Israelites as looking “like an army” (see Exodus 12:51). 

God’s watch care was on Israel, and his blessings upon them were numerous.  This magnificent army of ex-slaves of 600,000 men with all the women and children marched straight out of Egypt’s control and influence.  They left Egypt for the first time in 400 years, stripping the Egyptians of their wealth.  But the answer to where they would be going was still a bit unclear.  They had no other compelling choice but to follow their leader, Moses.  

And it wasn’t long before the people were visibly led by the One who had been faithfully leading Moses.  Scripture tells us the Lord went ahead of them in the pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire at night.  A visual image of an unseen God.  What a fantastic spectacle that must have been! 

What does all of this have to do with Christmas?  So very much!  You see, on that Christmas morning so many years ago, the light of the world came into a dark and sinful world.  

Just like the Lord accompanied the people of Israel via the light of the pillar of fire, baby Jesus entered our sinful world to guide us to a relationship with the One who is the light.  Just as the Lord came to rescue the Israelites from Egypt, Jesus came to save us.  

Jesus is the One and only light that shines brightly in the deepest and darkest of life’s circumstances.  Jesus was the One who came to shed light on our captive souls, searching for lost people everywhere, people who are like sheep without a shepherd—people who don’t know what they should be doing next or where they should be going.  Even before God made man, he knew that his only Son would be the Messiah, Savior, and light to a lost and dark world.  Jesus’ presence, a light so bright when inhabiting a believer’s life, cannot be hidden.  Just as the pillar of fire could not be hidden, Jesus’ presence in us cannot be hidden.  How wonderful that our Lord thought to send us the light of the world born as a wee baby on that original Christmas day!  

I have come as Light into the world, so that everyone who believes in Me will not remain in darkness. John 12:46

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