Distraction of Darkness

 In Jesus was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. John 1:5

 I love the lights this time of year. Driving through the tree-lined streets, sitting in the glow of a Christmas tree, and walking through the neighborhood’s multi-colored light displays. I am glad that Christmas is during the season of the shortest days because that allows more time to savor the breathtaking wonder of the lights.

However, I know the work that goes into a beautiful light display. There is the storage, the untangling, checking to ensure every light works, and then hanging them can be exhausting.  At our house, it never fails that one string is out. Whether it’s in the garland, a portion of the tree, or a section of the icicles, finding another strand to wrap around and light up the section is an added inconvenience.

This year, it took a while to find a strand to weave through the dark section of the garland. It reminded me that even though we may be plugged into the same power and relationship with Christ, not all of us are entering this season filled with joy and light.

I remember Christmases when we experienced a lost loved one, unemployment, or even a miscarriage.

 Empty hearts,

Empty wallets

Empty wombs

All have the potential to steal the light of this festive time.  As I recall those challenging years, I realize that not everyone feels the nostalgic warmth of the holiday season.  In fact, the very decorations, lights, and music that bring joy and comfort to me can trigger painful memories for others.

In John 12:36, Jesus reminds His disciples to connect with Him so that they can be His light-bearers in this world. Just as the hearts of many may feel like those unlit sections of garland even though they are plugged into the same power source. I believe God calls us to wrap ourselves around them just like we brought a working strand of lights to weave through the dark section of our garland. We can bring the light of Jesus into their lives with a listening ear, hugs, prayers, acts of service, and outreaches of kindness.

At Christmas, we celebrate the birth of Jesus, who came to bring light to a dark world. His light brings compassion to the hurting, healing to the sick, comfort to the grieving, hope to the disheartened, and salvation to the lost. How can you be Jesus’s light-bearer this Christmas?

Dear Jesus,

 It is the season we celebrate your birth. The world has filled this holiday with many distractions from the true meaning, but we want to focus on your purpose, hope, and love. Thank you for reminders, like burnt-out lights, that help us realize that too often, we focus and worry about the unimportant.  Help us to wrap our arms around those who need comfort and strength this holiday season. You are the light of the world, and as your children, we are called to be the bearers of your light in a dark world. Amen.

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