Season of Light

I guess I’m still a child at heart.

This time of year in late Fall, I begin anticipating the appearance of Christmas lights.

I begin visualizing and strategizing the placement of the outdoor lights I will use to decorate our home.  I usually put several strings of lights  on and around the outside of our house.  I have several strings of icicle lights I put out on the eaves of the house out front.  There is a large wreath I put up on the barn.  I’ll wrap in a few strings of multi-colored lights around some of the evergreens in our yard.  I put another string on the arbor over-arching the sidewalk leading to our back door.

Light serves as a reminder that darkness will not dominate if we take steps to light things up.
In fact, the darkness only serves to enhance the sparkle and beauty of the holiday lights.  You can turn them on before the sun goes down if you like, but the real show begins when darkness falls.

Just when darkness seems to have the upper hand, we can step in

and make a difference.

In the spiritual realm the same holds true.    The coming of Jesus to earth, took place in a context of darkness.   The Gospel of John, chapter one, verse nine  says, “the true light which enlightens every one, was coming into the world.”  Verse 11 continues…”He came to his own and his own people did not receive him…”

The story of Jesus appearing in the flesh…..the manger, the wise men, the angelic host….the shepherds, it all started out in darkness.  It was a time when the dark selfishness of world leaders sought power and control rather than welcoming the light into their midst.  Even the religious leaders would not recognize the light and preferred living in darkness.

Yet God continued to send His Light even in the midst of

a stubborn , insistent darkness.

In the most noteworthy of Jesus’ public addresses, the sermon on the mount, he said, “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

So the light of God is not seasonal.

His light is for every season.

Anywhere there is darkness, let there be light.

If someone is wandering in the darkness of despair and disillusionment, let us be light.  If there is hunger, or poverty or hopelessness, let us be bringers of light…….in this season and all others.

In time, I will be taking down the icicle lights from the eaves of my house.  I will go up the ladder and remove the wreath from the barn.

The Christmas lights are here only for a season.

But the Christian lights are called to remain a constant and continuing presence.

Here are 5 practical ways to keep your light burning from season to season all year long.

1) Make a list of people with whom you will lend encouragement on a weekly basis.  Call them, write them, visit them, let them know they are special to you.

2) Pray for people by name.  Keep a written prayer list in your wallet,  your purse or on your daily calendar.  Let these people know you are praying for them.  Ask them if there is something specific for which they would like you to pray.

3) Next time you are at a check out line at a store, say something kind to the person at the register.  They probably take a lot of guff from disgruntled patrons.  Your positive statement to them will likely mean more than you will ever know.  Next time you are in that store, purposely choose their checkout lane and repeat the process.  After you have done this a few times, be prepared to see their face light up when they see you in their lane again.  Light begets light.

4) Invite someone to your home for a meal, a cup of coffee, tea or hot chocolate.  Share with them something meaningful you have recently read in the Bible or a good book.  Personalize it with, “when I read this, I just wanted to share it with you…”  “I even wrote this quote for you on a note card.”

5) Invite someone to go with you to a special function which has a spiritual connection:  Men’s breakfast, Women’s gathering, book club, small group Bible study, family movie night, Sunday school class, worship, a retreat or conference.

Love God, live godly, light it up!

About Gary Cleveland

An old chunk of coal waiting to become a diamond some day. I spend the bulk of my time focused on spiritual development. I teach, preach and stand by the hurting and wounded. I believe our heavenly Father offers us daily opportunities to discover who we are and what we can yet become. I serve as a bringer of good news in and around the city of Oshkosh, Wisconsin.
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