One of the many things I love about the Christmas season is the lights. Seeing these beautiful, colourful illuminations fills me with joy, excitement and anticipation, even on the gloomiest of days and in the gloomiest of times.
As Christians, we are called "the light
of the world": "You are the light of the world—like a city on
a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it
under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives
light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds
shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly
Father." (Matt. 5:14-16 NLT)
In other words, each one
of us is a light. In the same way that a house all decked out in light
strings, tree wraps, icicles, nets, garlands and projectors stands out
at night as a beacon of colour, we are to shine in our witness for
Christ. And just as people don't go to all the trouble to put up
Christmas lights on the back of the house, but rather, on the front
where they give light to the entire neighbourhood, we are told to let
our witness shine as lights before all mankind...Why? So that
they can see our good works and glorify our Father in Heaven!
one frustrating thing in putting up Christmas lights is that for most
light-strings, if one bulb isn't working, an entire section won't light
up. In order to make the lights work properly, each individual bulb must
then be inspected to ensure the glass is unbroken, the light is properly
inserted into its socket, and the filaments are still intact.
the same way, there are things that cause our witness to stop shining
forth as lights. Sometimes this is because we've been broken down by
trials, illness, life circumstances. Sometimes it's because we aren't
properly "connected" with the rest of the light string, our fellow
Christians. Sometimes it's because of something internal, such as we
have allowed doubt to creep in and our faith has become weak. But what
does it matter? There are so many other lights around us. Who cares if
we aren't shining brightly?
Remember that when even one bulb
isn't working on a light-string, it is noticed. It is the same with our
witness. We make a difference on an individual level!
Am I being too harsh? After all, who among us would "choose" to not
shine for any of the above reasons? I mean, we haven't exactly
"selected" cancer or any other illness. It is never our "desire" to have
all these financial or family problems. We certainly would never
have "chosen" for a loved one to pass away. Nonetheless, life
happens. Troubles come. This is where we find ourselves. As our
attention shifts to the problems at hand, we stop focussing on Jesus,
our ultimate "light source", and our lights stop shining. We become
disconnected, broken apart. Is it any wonder that when we don't see
immediate answers to our prayers, our faith weakens?
these things have to disconnect us? Is it truly because of the
troubles that our faith weakens?
The answer is "no". It is
perhaps not our choice to go through trials, but it is our choice to
"become disconnected" by shifting our attention away from God. It is our
choice to focus on the circumstances, on the seemingly unanswered
prayers, and when we do, this results in the "broken filaments" of
weakened faith. It is our choice whether or not we allow these things to
How much better would it be in the face of our trials
to focus completely and totally on God? To accept His will, to allow Him
to carry us through the valleys, to focus on His miracles of the past?
To firmly believe that no matter what, God's purpose will be
accomplished, and we truly don't want any other outcome?
recognize that this is all harder than the simplistic view I've just
described. Nonetheless, the choice is ours: Do we focus on the problems?
Or do we focus on the God of the universe? Is it for naught that we are
told, "And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your
thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and
lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy
of praise" (Phil. 4:8 NLT)?
When we decide to focus on Him,
then despite our circumstances, our witness will continue to shine
brightly. No matter what you are going through right now, think about
this the next time you see a house all lit up for Christmas!
In His love,
Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author --
"Aboard God's Train -- A
Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer", Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet
Scriptural Nuggets, a
website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, with
Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart.