Our family began a tradition a few years ago that we look forward to each Christmas season. At some point, shortly before Christmas Day, we devote one evening to “light sight-seeing” and have somewhat of a set routine…
After loading up in the vehicle, we drive the few miles into town, with a pit stop to the local convenience store first, where we fill up cups of overly flavored hot chocolate, cappuccino, or coffee to sip on during our adventure. It’s not Starbucks by any means, but it excites my children to choose from the many options, mix flavors, and make their own concoction—plus its way easier on the pocket-book!
This year after returning myself, the kids, and our piping hot beverages to the vehicle we were greeted by my lovely husband, who was patiently waiting on us and who I figured was also creating the perfect Christmas music play-list…but as we left the gas station parking lot let’s just say ‘Joy to the World’ wasn’t music to our ears…and I hardly think when Axl Rose belts out ‘Sweet Child of Mine’ he’s referring to sweet little Baby Jesus, although I believe my husband would beg to differ apparently…
The disgruntled expression on mine and the kids’ faces surely spoke our scant enthusiasm. My husband quickly replaced what must be his idea of Christmas ‘mood music’ for an instrumental band he’s recently stumbled upon and we can all agree on listening to—a rock genre band, Trans Siberian Orchestra, which presents an impressive flair with their focus on Christmas themed music and dramatic opera style performances.
As we drove around the quiet settled streets of our small town I couldn’t help but notice the meticulous amount of time and work put into some of these festive homes.
Some with classy white lights neatly dotting roof tops and swirling around what would otherwise be bare tree branches and others with bushes and porches wrapped in various rainbow colors. A person’s creative side has the possibility to truly shine when it comes to decorating with Christmas lights.
Nearing the end of our outing, we passed an attractive nativity scene which prompted me to reflect upon the true purpose of all these extra lights—the celebration of Jesus’ birth…
The truth is, as beautiful and luring as Christmas lights might be, none are as captivating as the light that was referred to in John 1:9-12 which reads, ‘The one who is the true light (Jesus), who gives light to everyone, was coming into the world (his birth). He came into the very world he created, but the world didn’t recognize him. He came to his own people, and even they rejected him. But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God.’
…‘he came to his own people, and even they rejected Him’…those words invariably get to me…
You see, sometimes, we reject him—our faith falters and Jesus’ light appears smothered by the deep shadow of darkness when we fail to trust Him..when the bills are more than the income, when the illness feels stronger than the body, when the stress is higher than what seems manageable…
Darkness in the form of rejection, worry, fear, hurt…
But recorded in Isaiah 42:16 we read about the hope and love God provides for His stubborn people, ‘I will lead blind Israel down a new path, guiding them along an unfamiliar way. I will brighten the darkness before them and smooth out the road ahead of them. Yes, I will indeed do these things; I will not forsake them.’
And in John 8:12 as Jesus preached to the people saying, “I am the Light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the Light that leads to life.”
Isn’t it reassuring to know that Jesus desires to flood His light upon our lives?
Long after the Christmas lights are tucked in storage, and darkness tries to creep its way in, we can continue to celebrate the season’s theme of peace and joy when we allow God’s light to shine over us, even through moments of what feels like dark despair.
The luminosity of Jesus’ light prevails when we trust him as Lord and Savior over our lives—declaring to Him, “Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.” (Psalms 119:105)
Prayer: God, forgive me for the times I allow the shadow of darkness to weigh down heavy on me without considering your ways first, thank you that your Light shines brightly through the dark when I choose to obediently accept and walk in the brilliance of your truth.
“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.
Wishing you a very ‘radiant’ Merry Christmas and Happy New Year filled with many blessings!