Every year between Thanksgiving and New Year’s day, the world gets a little brighter. The lights of Christmas illuminate our landscape and we welcome their arrival.
The leaves are gone, the air is cold and darkness comes earlier to our days. Yet in this setting, we find ourselves anticipating something joyous and give expression to that feeling by cascading lights on the trees and shrubs around our homes and in our towns. They not only send forth a radiant beauty, but quietly reflect a deeper spiritual truth ~ Jesus came to bring light in our darkness.
For those of us who celebrate the Christ of Christmas, that joy is immeasurable. And for many who do not know Him, there is still a sense of distinction to this season ~ an unexplainable recognition of glimmering hope.
The significance of that thought came to me in a rather unexpected way while putting up outside lights. There is a small porch leading to a patio at the back of my home and I always thought it would be inviting to light that private area. So, one year, I determined to make that the starting point and set about placing white lights on the bushes that lined the walkway. I had just complete that section and was interrupted. Unable to continue to the front that day, I was satisfied to enjoy the light from the back entrance and it remained that way for nearly a week. Each day I enjoyed the light on my private pathway with the intentions of extending it to the front of the house where others could benefit as well. The delay became an object lesson.
How often, as believers, are we content to keep the Light to ourselves? There are many reasons we use to be private about our relationship with Jesus, but none of them stand up to His words in Matthew Chapter 5. “You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand and it gives light to everyone in the house. In this same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” NIV
If the deeds we are doing are good and yet we do not convey from Whom they come, we take praise from God and deny others the opportunity to come into relationship with Him. At this very moment, people are desperate for someone to shed light in their darkness. We are near them every day. We see it in their eyes and notice it in their posture. Will we shine the light of Christ? It doesn’t have to be blinding. In fact, it is far more effective when it is soft. A glimmer of kindness, compassion, mercy or forgiveness expressed out of the love of Jesus can spark hope and a willingness to draw closer to the radiance of God’s love. How important is that light? Consider this:
- Genesis opens with God’s first command ~ “Let there be light.”
- Isaiah foretold that “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned. For to us a child is born, to us a son is given and the government will be on His shoulders. And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
- John proclaimed Jesus as the source of light: “In Him was life, and that life was the light of men.”
- Revelation speaks of the incomparable promise that believers will live forever with God in a Holy City where “The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light and the Lamb is the lamp.”
From Genesis to Revelation, the message of the Bible consistently points to the One who is the Light of the world ~ Jesus. Christmas is the celebration of His arrival and knowing Him illuminates, not just a season, but a life. If that truth is yours, rejoice and reflect the love of the Savior!