28 Dec LIGHT
Perhaps you’re a bit like me the day after Christmas. There’s always a bit of bittersweetness as I recognize that all the lovely lights and garland, the glittering balls and the shimmering tree, are all soon to come down. I just love how my home looks at Christmas time – it’s warm, it’s cozy, it’s all aglow. One of my happy places is to just sit in my comfy chair across from my tree with a cup of coffee early in the morning before anyone else is awake. If I could (or should I say if my husband would let me), I would leave up our decorations through at least mid-February. But, alas, come the first(-ish) week of January, I solemnly begin to box it all up – into the attic it goes, without another thought until the day after Thanksgiving. Sadly, I think so many of us experience the Light of Christ in our lives in a very similar way. We light our Jesus candle every Sunday, or perhaps a couple times a month, or maybe even just a couple times a year; then we blow it out and stick it in a box and forget about it until the next time comes around where we need to take it out and light it again.
But the Light of Christ was never meant to be a mere flicker in our lives. He came to light up our darkness. Light plays a significant and symbolic role throughout Scripture. It was the first of God’s creation, “Let there be light!” (Genesis 1:3) The Lord appeared to both Abraham and Moses as a burning flame of Light. His Light guided the Israelites through the wilderness and set ablaze Mount Sinai when the Law was given. Jesus was prophesied to be the Light that would shine on the people walking in darkness, in the shadow of death (Isaiah 9:1, Matthew 4:16, John 1:4-9).
Jesus Himself said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12) When we follow Jesus, we live lives walking in the Light. It seems implied then, that when we are not following Jesus and His example – His obedience to the Father, His ability to love others and extend mercy and grace, His desire to glorify the Father – then we are not walking in the Light. John writes in 1 John 1:5-7, “This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.”
Walking in the Light not only allows us to have fellowship with God and His Son, but enables us to have true fellowship with each other. When we walk in the Light it should radiate out of us, people should be able to see a difference in how we live our lives. Jesus said in Matthew 5:14-16, “You are the light of the world. A city situated on a hill cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and puts it under a basket, but rather on a lampstand, and it gives light for all who are in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.”
Our Light should not be hidden, nor should it be neglected. The menorah, or lampstand, that the Israelites were commanded to construct was tended to by the Levite priests daily to ensure that it was lit before the Holy of Holies. Only the purest olive oil was used to kindle the lamps, which was part of the daily purification of the Tabernacle, and later the Temple. Tending to our Light takes daily discipline – refilling the oil reservoirs of our souls with the anointed oil of God’s Word and trimming back the wick on the burned off, dead areas of our lives that hinder us from enjoying full, uninhibited fellowship with God. In Matthew 25:1-10, Jesus gives a strong warning of what can happen if we become foolishly neglectful of tending to the Light we have been given:
“At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish and five were wise. The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. The wise ones, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep.
“At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’
“Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.’
“‘No,’ they replied, ‘there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.’
“But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut.”
As we are here, waiting for His Return, Christ desires that we live in His Light – walking in His ways and feeding our souls daily with the true Light from His Word. When we do, we are precursing the days when He will be our constant Light. I pray that this year you will cherish the Light. Let it linger. Let it burn. Let it shine so brightly in your life that it draws others to the the Light you have received so that they might receive it also.
“The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp. The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it.” Revelation 21:23-24