On a warm Autumn day I opened my front door to sunlight streaming in and three beautiful women laden with baking, meals and gifts plus steaming hot coffee standing outside. Ahhh food for the body and nourishment for the soul for this mother with her newborn!
We’re called to be a light to the world around us. We’re called to represent Jesus wherever we go. Sometimes that means sharing the Gospel through words. Sometimes that means taking the hands of a person in need and praying for them. And sometimes that means turning up on a doorstep with the light of Christ in your heart shining through and gifts for the soul.
There’s a movement happening around New Zealand at the moment. It’s called “Love this city”. It involves people going round and love bombing random strangers with gifts and kind words. For many it is the only encouragement in an otherwise hard day, it is the seed of hope, the strength to keep going. It is the light, the love of Christ, no strings attached, no agenda except to express the love of God.
One recipient of being love bombed wrote this “I am currently six months pregnant, alone with the father not around anymore…my silent prayers have finally been answered … and live knowing that at least someone out there loves me.”
This world is looking for, crying out for demonstrations of the love of God for them. Practical demonstrations of the love and power of God. Did not Jesus walk this earth healing the sick, feeding the hungry, encouraging the hurting and the rejected?
“You are the light of the world. A town built 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 the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:14-16)
If there is one thing I love about Christmas, it’s the lights! The lights on houses, on trees – inside and out! Darkened houses transform into beautiful luminescent displays. This year I may have gone a little overboard with the lights in our home. The boys all have Christmas Lights strung across their windows, the tree is laden with lights (the multiboard doing it’s best to cope!) The kitchen too has undergone a transformation. I love the copper seed lights and have put them where I can inside cloches and vases, plus there’s the lightbox with its own Christmas countdown. At night the house is bathed in the warm glow of lights everywhere!
It’s appropriate really, so I tell myself! For Christmas is about Jesus – Light of the World – coming to our world! Shining into the darkness. Christmas is celebrating the birth of the Light of the World!
Light is transformational! It overpowers darkness. It triumphs over it! Jesus triumphed over sin, over death and over darkness. Through Him we have light and life! That’s certainly something to celebrate!
“The people who walk in darkness will see a great light. For those who live in a land of deep darkness, a light will shine.” (Isaiah 9:2)
“In Him was life, and that life was the light of men” (John 1:4)
Walking down the street the other day it felt like I had stepped into a time warp, into another world. For coming towards me was an elderly man all dressed up in his brown suit, tie and shoes. Cap on head and carrying a vintage brown briefcase. He could have stepped out of the 1960s due to his attire. But what caught my attention even more as he strode on by was his smile. Not just smiling – beaming. One couldn’t help but smile in return. He was like a breath of fresh air, a shot of espresso, a ray of sunshine on a cloudy day. And all too soon he walked past me and was gone.
He seemed to not be of this world. But yet he was so very much in it. He made an impact on my day, and as such gave me pause to think. As Christians we are all charged with being a light, standing out, making a difference – to shine. Do we make a positive impact on those around us? Are we the joy in someone’s perhaps otherwise joyless day? Are we the voice of hope, the encouragement? Are we that beaming smile?
“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:14-16)
Christmas time it seems the ordinary becomes special. Lights on Christmas trees sparkle in darkened rooms. Houses glimmer with fairy lights like diamonds on a crown. Candles in Churches glow in warmth.
Light it seems is an important part of celebrating Christmas. Just as it was on that very first Christmas. A star in the sky guided Wise men to the baby Jesus. Shepherds were greeted by a shining angelic display in the night sky bringing the great news of the birth of Jesus.
But Christmas is not just celebrating the birth of a baby. Christmas is celebrating how God came to earth to dwell among us as a man. It is the beginning of an incredible journey of reconciliation, hope and love by our God. You see, the baby in the manger grew to become a man – but no ordinary man. He came to bring us life. He came to bring forgiveness. And ultimately He came to lay down His life for us and vanquish death by rising from the dead.
Jesus came to be the light in our darkness. Light is needed when there is darkness, for darkness always flees before light. Just as a night light dispels shadows that scare, Jesus came to be the Light of the World where hopelessness, fear, worry and anxiety abound.
He said “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:14)
Christmas celebrates the most ultimate gift possible – God coming to earth as man. Christmas is us remembering that Jesus came down to our earth to be our hope and our Saviour – to be the Light of the World.
But unlike the Christmas tree lights that all too soon will be packed away for another year, Jesus is our Light forever. He goes beyond Christmas Day and into eternity. For the day after Christmas and the days that follow – He is there to be your hope, your Saviour, your light.
The question is – are we allowing Jesus – the eternal Christmas light, in our lives today?
Jesus said “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12)
But He also said “You are the light of the world.” (Matthew 5:14) We are to reflect Jesus. We are to reveal Jesus. He has entrusted that to us. We are to let His presence be made manifest through us.
How? By reflecting His spirit, His peace, His favour, His provision when the world is under fear, recession, anxiety.
As we reflect the Spirit of Jesus we will be like a city on a hill drawing people through us to Jesus.
As you go through life today you can affect the atmosphere wherever you go. You are in Heaven and Heaven is in you. Take an opportunity or two and let Heaven out in the world around you.
Just as a light bulb needs to be connected to a power source to go, we need to make sure we remain plugged in to THE power source – Jesus. He empowers us to shine.
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