Last week my son Andy and I dug out our Christmas lights and began to decorate the outside of our home. When I plugged in the lights I was disappointed to discover that some of them didn’t work. I began to replace the burnt-out bulbs, but finally, I gave up and decided to throw the old light strings away.
As I thought about what happened I began to wonder if God is ever irritated with us trying to get us to shine. We are called to be the light of the world, yet too often we walk around like burnt out bulbs with no light shining out to the world. God must get frustrated trying to get our lights to shine bright.
Yet from my perspective, when we do shine, it is a beautiful sight. I have seen our lights shining brightly many times this year. I watched us give generously to our church and many outreach projects. I watched us bring nonperishables for the food pantry and several times our people have gone to the shelter to serve food for the homeless. I watched us bring in gifts for children that would not have much of a Christmas without them. I watched us spread the message of God’s love by inviting and welcoming strangers into our church family, and making them our friends.
As we prepare to celebrate Christmas we could ask: “Are we burnt out or brightly shining? Is our spiritual light shining brightly for the world to see, or is our light too dim to pierce the darkness of doubt and discouragement?” We don’t have to replace bulbs, but we may need to replace attitudes and priorities.
Our light will shine bright if we let God’s love in. When we let God’s love and acceptance in, it shines out through us. When we let go of anger, fear, and resentment, our light breaks through the darkness and the world is illuminated.
Make Christmas special through a random act of kindness. Focus Christmas on giving instead of receiving. Invite someone to join us worship or at one of our Christmas activities. Put God’s light where people can see, and let it shine!
Imagine the light we will shine if we all replace our burnt-out attitudes with God’s gracious love. Imagine the difference our light will make if we hook up to God’s power and let God put us in the dark places in our world. We could bring God’s light and love to everyone.
I share this picture of our tree at home. May God’s light glow in all our hearts. Merry Christmas and I will see you in church, o remember, God loves us more than we can ever imagine, and I love you too!