In the Jerusalem of the Savior’s day, Jewish people celebrated many festivals. One of the most joyous of all the festivals was the Feast of Tabernacles, which lasted eight days. It was held to help the Jews remember how the Lord had led them in the wilderness after they had fled Egypt. It was also a feast of gratitude for the harvest. Many sacrifices and ceremonies were performed during these eight days, and the courtyards of the temple were illuminated by four golden candelabras.
During and after this celebration, the Savior went to the temple to preach to the people. On one of these visits, He said, “I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life” (John 8:12). Just as the magnificent candelabras had lit the temple during the Feast of Tabernacles so that people could see where they were going physically, the Savior gives us light so that we can know where we are going spiritually.
After the Savior’s resurrection, He visited His people in the Americas. He taught them the same principles he had taught the people in Galilee: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, I give unto you to be the light of this people. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid.
“Behold, do men light a candle and put it under a bushel? Nay, but on a candlestick, and it giveth light to all that are in the house;
“Therefore let your light so shine before this people, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” (3 Ne. 12:14–16.)
Later He added, “Behold I am the light; I have set an example for you . …
“Therefore, hold up your light that it may shine unto the world. Behold I am the light which ye shall hold up—that which ye have seen me do.” (3 Ne. 18:16, 24.)
The light of Christ will lead us to those things that are true, lovely, and uplifting. And when we seek after good things, and make them part of our lives, we can be a good example to others and hold up our light “that it may shine unto the world.”
“Even as Jesus himself is the light of the world, so he expects his saints to set perfect examples of righteousness so that they too shall shine forth as lights to their fellow men.” (Bruce R. McConkie, Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 1:218.)