We have just passed Thanksgiving, a season of the year when we take the time to give thanks for all of our blessings. We thank God for an abundance of food, for the harvest time in the fall, and for the family and friends that we gather with to celebrate.
If Christmas has a cultural theme for us here in North America, other than giving of course, I suppose it would be light.
We light up our homes, we bring out the candles, and we even drag trees in from outdoors and light them up as a means of celebration.
The Light of Christmas
Culturally, the warmth and light of Christmas are wonderful distractions from the cold and darkness of the shortest days of the year as winter approaches.
All of this is to bring honour to the One we remember at Christmas as a wee baby. The One who came to bring light and salvation. Jesus Christ, whom Christians honor every week as we gather to worship Him.
He came to bring righteousness, hope, and light to a world that was dark, despairing, and lost in sin.
He came to bring righteousness, hope, and light to us as individuals, when our lives were darkened and discouraged by sin.
2 Corinthians 4:6 – The same God who said (when He created the universe), “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.
God sent His perfect, sinless Son to shine in our hearts and save us from our darkness.
Called to Sparkle
Zechariah 9:16-17 The Lord has saved us so that we, weak and imperfect though we may be, can “sparkle… like jewels in a crown.”
We, you and I as believers, are called to shine the light of the glory of Christ into the darkness of the lost world around us.
Isaiah 60:1 says “Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you.”
Psalm 37:6 says “He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn.”
Psalm 50:2 says “From Zion, perfect in beauty, God shines forth.”
What is Zion? Zion is the dwelling place of God. That is you and me, if we have been born again in Christ and have been filled with the Holy Spirit of God.
The Light of the World
Jesus says of us, “You are the light of the world… Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good works and praise your father in heaven” Matthew 5:14, 16.
We need to live daily, purposefully, knowing that we are charged with bringing the light of Christ to the dark world around us.
Now, I have no delusions about my own perfection. I’m not perfect and neither are you. But here we are, called to shine Christ’s light.
So, how do we do that?
Shine like a Star
Here is what Philippians 2:14.15 says. “Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe.”
Listen to that language! The way Paul puts it here, it’s as if we have a choice between complaining and arguing or shining like stars in the universe.
Which would you choose? Complaining and arguing versus shining like stars in the universe.
Wouldn’t you rather shine?
And yet, how often do we choose to complain and bicker?
Our choices make a difference.
Choose to Shine
Every day, how we choose to live in the world makes a difference. We can sink into our own little worlds of selfishness and complaining, or we can choose instead to shine.
Let the sparkling lights of Christmas remind you of all that Christ has done for you and also of your own personal calling to shine the light of Christ to those around you.
You are indeed the light of the world, as God has “made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.”
So as we go, here is our mandate.
Arise. Shine. For your light has come.
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