ShineI never get tired of Christmas lights burning brightly from the rooflines of decked-out houses or twinkling brightly through the windows of those cheery folks who’ve managed to get their trees up already. It’s such a contrast to the cold bleakness of this time of year.

As much as I love this season of light, I hate the darkness that seems to have blanketed the world when we hear of yet another robbery or shooting, of the threat of more terrorist attacks, or any one of a thousand ways humans hurt and destroy each other.

Here’s the thing, though. We are called to be God’s glow sticks–His brightly shining, ever-ready, LED flashlights in a “the-power-is-out-lost-its-way-in-the-dark” world.

Matthew 5:14 says, You are the light of the world – like a city on a mountain, glowing in the night for all to see. Don’t hide your light under a basket! Instead put it on a stand and let it shine for all.

The trouble comes when we allow an upside-down basket of busyness, perfectionism, preoccupation, worry, or fear (I speak with the authority of a too-frequent under-basket-dweller) to black-out the light God put in us. Yes, it’s still there but no one can see it. The brightness is blocked from those who need it most…those waiting in their own dark seasons of loneliness, hunger, homelessness, depression, illness, grief, addiction, or just plain hopelessness.

So push off that light-blocking basket. Smile at the person waiting in the l-o-n-g checkout line with you. Take your neighbor a plate of Christmas cookies (even if that’s WHY you were waiting in the long checkout line–store bought treats are okay, my perfectionist-twin…really, they are). Offer to pray for that friend with tired eyes and a heavy heart. Forgive a long-held grudge, even if it’s against yourself. Write a check, write a word of encouragement and thanks to someone who’s often overlooked, show up at your church ready to serve. Be nice to your family even when the laundry’s piling up and there are too many unchecked items still on your to-do list. Yes, even when you know they might deserve to be on the naughty list. Tell someone the Good News of Christmas, that a Savior was born to rescue their heart from the dark.

No, these acts won’t eliminate darkness completely but they may be just enough light for someone to find their way home to hope again. You don’t have to be the whole power plant. Just be the best glow stick you can be.

Shine. That’s what light does. And that’s who you are. Jesus said so. 

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