Pastor's Corner: Christmas lights
Christmas lights are up. Houses are decorated. Trees shine even as the sun goes down earlier and earlier. I love the lights of this season. Every culture around the world that lives above or below the equator has to deal with less light as we approach the New Year. And most of them make light a very important part in this season. The Scandinavians often had huge bon fires and Yule Logs. The Jews in Israel have a Temple Dedication called Hanukah where they light lamps every night for 8 nights. And every Christian culture has included some form of lighting for this Christmas season: Candles in the windows, candles on the tree, and now LEDs glowing everywhere.
This season reminds us how much we need and love LIGHT. We are a light people. We need sunshine and brightness. We love it in the Spring and Summer, almost without notice. We even take it for granted. But in the darkness of Winter, we see our need for light.
Many times in my life I have experienced a cold winter - in my heart, in my mind, in my family, in my job. Maybe you have too. When things are dying and empty and we need some light. We need hope. We need encouragement. We need something greater than us.
And what a wonderful God we have! He doesn't inflict winters upon us. They are the results of so much else going on around us. He doesn't bring darkness, bitterness, resentment, fear, emptiness. These things come from the world, from the enemy and even from within us. And in the midst of our emptiness, he offers life. He offers to shine his light into our darkness.
The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. (John 1:9-13 ESV)
Light, true and pure, came into our world so many years ago. Jesus, the very son of God was born. He came and brought light. He brought hope. He healed. He loved. He had compassion. He cut through all the human junk and social politics to get to the heart of the issue. He pointed to his Heavenly Father like no one else. He exposed us deeply because he knew exactly what we are like. He made us after all.
And yet in the midst of his light, many people just don't see it. They don't recognize him. They get caught up in the other lights, the ones that aren't so pure and true, that blink and glow in this season. Santas, Snowmen, Holiday Sales, Parties, etc. His light shines in the darkness and some people miss him.
But some don't. And those who catch a glimpse of his light, draw nearer. They get closer to see just how pure and true his light really is. Better than any Black Friday deal or latest holiday gadget. And to those who draw near, he asks them to trust him and follow him. When they do, they become family. His Family. The Family of God. Born of God to be like him and not like the world. New DNA. New support. New Life. New Light. May you enjoy his Light this month and for the rest of your days of life. Keep your eyes open for his glow!