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  • Writer's pictureDr. Jim Baldwin

Hunkered Down Homilies – Light

One of the advantages to living in Wallace is that we are within driving distance of a number of towns with interesting events. We can easily get to the Poultry Festival in Rose Hill (featuring the World’s Largest Frying Pan), the Blueberry Festival in Burgaw or the New Year’s Eve Pickle Drop in Mt. Olive.

One night last week we jumped in the car and made the short trek up I-40 to see the Meadow Lights in, you guessed it, Meadow, NC. The Meadow Lights claim to be the largest and oldest Christmas light display in Eastern NC. For $3 you can ride a miniature train through 30 acres filled with unique characters highlighted with Christmas lights. There are elves playing pickleball, NASCAR vehicles racing around a track and a bear leapfrogging into a jar of honey, not to mention the usual Santas, reindeer and candy canes. My personal favorite was the pig, placed there in an obvious nod to my neighbors in Duplin County.

The entire display is called a Celebration of Lights, a fitting way to acknowledge the birth of Jesus. In the Gospel of John, Jesus proclaims, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness.” (John 8:12) I think of how light reveals things, heals things, grows things, offers protection, finds things, exposes things, sustains life, gives warmth. Light is essential to life and without light we have no hope.

These essential qualities of light take on a real and personal dimension when you look at the stories just before and after Jesus’ claim to be “the light of the world.” Just prior to his statement, a woman caught in adultery is brought to Jesus by religious authorities hoping to trap Jesus in a murky ethical situation. Her life was filled with the darkness of sin, guilt, shame and condemnation. To her Jesus says, “I am the light of the world.” Following Jesus’ declaration, he encounters a man born blind. His life was filled with the fear, isolation, rejection and suspicion that came as a result of his sightlessness. To him Jesus says, “Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness.” They both left their encounter with Jesus to walk in a new light.

Whatever darkness we carry within us or whatever darkness surrounds us flees in the presence of Jesus, the light of the world.

That is why we celebrate Christmas.

-Dr. Jim Baldwin

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