In him was life, and that life was the light of men. (John 1:4)

You tune in to the flight attendant ahead of you. “In case of an emergency, white lights will guide you to red lights, which indicate the exits,” she explains. It’s a simple but essential feature on a plane. When immersed in darkness, we need something to light our way, or we may find ourselves lost and in a dangerous situation.

John wrote of a light God sent into the darkness of our world. In poetic words, he spoke of Jesus, whose birth brought life that “was the light of men.” He mentioned John the Baptist, who, like a flight attendant, pointed out where to find the light in the darkness. It’s a light we desperately need. Sadly, the world misses it, said John, as though their noses are tucked in the in-flight magazine.

Sometimes, though, we let ourselves stumble in the darkness and don’t look to the light. As we draw nearer to celebrating Christ’s birth, colorful lights sparkle all around. We should let them remind us of the real light of the world, born Christmas morning. The world clamors with voices that claim to show the way, but we only need to follow the Light that, like a plane’s lights, illuminates our path and offers hope. And in those moments when darkness feels greater than any light in our world, we can remember that “the darkness has not understood it.”

Go on a drive to view Christmas lights and remember Jesus as the Light.

Diane Gardner is a freelance writer and editor. She lives in northern California, where she enjoys reading, painting, and exploring the San Francisco Bay area with her husband.