By, Amanda Detweiler
"You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:14-16 NIV
Ever since I was a little girl one of my favorite Christmas traditions was to drive around with my family and look at all of the Christmas lights. The way that the lights shined and glimmered in the darkness created a sense of wonder and awe that filled my heart with warmth and an unexplainable joy. That same wonder and awe was lost during the daytime as the lights were overpowered by the sunshine, but in the dark of night the stage was set for them to work their magic.
During the Christmas season I love to fill my home with the white twinkling lights that my husband and I affectionately call “The Christmas Magic.”
I can see the wonder in my children’s eyes as they glean during the evenings. My husband even waits for me to go to bed before turning off “the Christmas Magic,” because it still has the ability to bring me back to that place of childlike wonder and I just don’t want it to end. But, just as I have grown into an adult, those lights have grown even more in meaning during this season as the Lord has revealed to me a great calling that He has for every one of us.
All of us have heard or even said that when it comes to Christmas, “Jesus is the reason for the season.” This statement speaks great truth as it fixes our hearts on what the focus of our celebration should be, but the Lord has shown me that in His Kingdom celebration and remembrance aren’t just for spectating, they’re meant to move us toward action.
In John 8:12 Jesus is speaking to the people who have gathered to hear him teach and He says, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” What is amazing to me about light is its ability to outshine the darkness. Jesus called himself, “the light of the world,” because He had come here to shine the light of grace, mercy, forgiveness, freedom, hope and restoration into the darkness of a sin-filled and broken world. His words proved true as he traveled and taught, setting people free from their pasts, bringing healing, providing for great needs, and forgiving sins.
Have you ever noticed that in a strand of lights if one bulb goes out, all of the bulbs behind it go dark as well?
In the same way, when that bulb goes on so do the ones behind it. Jesus was the first light in the strand and in Matthew 5:14 He invites us to follow in His footsteps saying we are the light of the world and imploring us to, “let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” In so doing, we become the next light in the strand.
To let our “light shine before others,” doesn’t just mean to declare that we live for Jesus, but rather it involves us carrying that light into the lives of others. When we step into someone’s life and begin to reveal through our words and actions who God is and what was accomplished for us in Jesus, we not only shine His light into the dark places of their lives, we invite them to join the strand and become light themselves.
The Christmas season is marked by joy, hope, and celebration, but for many of us, it is a time where it feels as though darkness overpowers it all. The pain of a loved one who won’t be there, the feeling of desperation to provide a traditional Christmas with all of its expectations and no means to do so, having one thing after another cause heartbreak and chaos and seeing no break in sight. This is the darkness where the light of hope shines brightest because of Christ. This is the darkness that sets the stage of awe and wonder because of the power of God to enter into the lives of His children and provide comfort where there is pain, provision where there is lack, peace where there is chaos, and joyful hope amidst it all. This is the darkness in which we are beckoned to shine into because we have been rescued and redeemed and now we are the light of the world.
This Christmas season let us take a moment to put aside our to-do lists and traditions and truly make Jesus the reason for this season by carrying our light into the darkness of someone else’s life, so that they may receive the greatest gift ever, offered through Jesus Christ.
And as we shine into the lives of others and invite them to become light themselves, may we come together as the most magnificent strand of Christmas lights overcoming the darkness all over the world.
Meet the Author
Amanda is happily married to her wonderful husband, Josh, and is a mother to two amazing little boys. Together, Josh and she pastor a campus of Morningstar Fellowship in Pottstown, Pennsylvania and love being a part of that community.
This is Amanda’s first venture in writing, but it has been a desire of her heart for a long time so, she is thrilled to have this opportunity. When she’s not writing, Amanda enjoys listening to various messages to grow her relationship with the Lord and spending time with her family and friends.
You can read Amanda's "Sunday Inspiration" column the 1st Sunday each month here at Pandora's Box Gazette. What are your thoughts on the Christmas season? We'd love to hear from you. Feel free to comment below to chat with Amanda.