One of the most cherished aspects of the Christmas season are lights. Twinkle lights, tree lights, luminaries, lanterns tied up with evergreen and bows, and especially candlelight.
Light was an extraordinary part of the first Christmas, too. Historians confirm that the time at which Christ was born was very dark. Among the Jewish people, doubt was overwhelming since they had not heard from the Lord in 400 years.
Doesn’t sound far from the current social and mental state of things, does it?
Perhaps never before has this generation experienced so much brokenness, so much tumult, so much hopelessness. And just when we think things can’t get worse, somehow they do.
…if our God has been anything, He has been faithful to show up at the last minute, in the midst of the most impossible, and yes, at the darkest hour.
As Isaiah wrote:
The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light. For those who lived in a land of deep shadows— light! sunbursts of light! (Isa. 9:2 TMV)This applies not only to our general position in life, but in our hearts, too. Each of us has dark places…cupboards with top shelves never disturbed, shadowy corners under the beds, in the closets and unopened drawers where we hide from those who are closest to us…places we hide from even ourselves.
In this season of lights, I offer this challenge: kneel before the manger.
Kneel and consider the infant Jesus, who moments before His birth left a glorious, eternal Kingdom to dive into our dark, murky and temporary world to fill it…and to fill hearts with light.
I love how The Message interprets that verse from Isaiah–light! sunbursts of light!–that expose the shadows and defeat the darkness with truth so we can live free.
Letting go of the pain in our lives, shaking dusty past hurts from our sandals, and illuminating all that darkness won’t guarantee every day will be happy, but it will guarantee freedom to live joyfully and accomplish the plans He has for us. Sometimes that is a one-and-done prayer. Other times, it is a daily, even moment-by-moment prayer. Best of all, the Light of the World means we can become the people He made us to be in order to carry out His mission for our lives freely and with great joy.
You are here on this earth at this time for a reason, friend.
Let that sink in.
Now more than ever lost, hurting and broken people need to know they are not alone, and the Holy Spirit accomplishes that through people like you who are brave enough to fearlessly use their gifts and talents for Him. As you think about this year past and the one to come, ask the Lord to search your heart for thoughts, patterns, or anything that might be holding you back.
The greatest gift of the nativity is that He came to set you free—from sin, from an abusive past, from those who doubt or criticize you, from fear, and everything in between—to use and give your gifts to others.
Go and be the light you were meant to be, dear friends.
And merry, merry Christmas.