Yesterday we started a new sermon series entitled Breakthrough that will lead us into Christmas Eve. The teachings will be centered on the apostle John and his writings in regard to the “why” of Christmas.
It was a great teaching to kick off the series, and I encourage you to check out the sermon links on https://www.firstdecatur.org/sermons/ later in the week to take a listen.
The thing that jumped out to me and fit so beautifully with one of my memories I had jotted down to share was the theme of light. The worship center we sit in has tables and on each one were little trees with votive lights glowing. Garland along the platform where the worship team stands and trees on either side also glowed with white lights.
Even before the sermon had started I was loving the ambiance and reflecting (no pun intended, honest) on how much I love Christmas lights. We have them everywhere I can figure out a way to put them without having a big old wire hanging down and leading to an outlet.
Christmas lights are absolutely at their best at night or in the early morning hours.
As soon as the sun begins to set and the lantern with a battery operated candle comes on in the dining room, I am going around turning on trees and outside lights and all the fairy lights woven into various places. I light them in the morning before I make my coffee and start quiet time.
When I started jotting down Christmas memories and stories to share, one seemed so simple it really had no point.
Until today and now I understand.
I told you my dad was in the Air Force and for several years we were stationed in Newfoundland. I would have lived there until I was five or almost five.
I have a collection of memories from that time and they are my own because when I would share them, my mom would confirm that yes, this or that happened. They aren’t the kind of memories we have because of other people’s stories.
My sister and I shared a small bedroom upstairs and my parents had put a little tree in there the only Christmas I remember in that house. I remember two things about that room. One is the little glow in the dark Jesus figure I had by my bed.
I am sure it was carcinogenic but it was one of those phosphorescent figures of Jesus sitting and holding a lamb. It made me feel safe as I fell asleep knowing He held me the same way.
The other lights I remember came from that tree glowing in the dark as I would fall asleep. Night time and darkness were hard for me as a child and it was such a treat to have these little lights gently brightening that space.
One of my devotions last week also mentioned how light becomes brighter the darker it gets. We know that darkness cannot put out light, but light pierces darkness. Last night the Advent book I am closing the day with is by Tozer was about “Light for the Darkness” and used Psalm 119:105 as the Scripture.
“Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.”
The sermon today referred to John’s writings in 1 John and how Jesus is light and in Him there is no darkness.
Sometimes we still have dark places in us. Sometimes the places we are in are dark.
But as I read over and over the first 7 verses of 1 John chapter 1, I am reminded how we have been given the Holy Spirt to help us shine in the dark places of this world and to light up the darkness when we discover it within ourselves.
Pastor Brian pointed out that we do this by knowing God both personally and practically. We learn about Him in His Word and prayer and we activate that Word through obedience and prayer.
I think the lights on houses and peeping through windows of homes, on downtown parks and inside of our homes are not only charming and cheerful, I think they are reminding us that He came to be the Light in this dark world and if you are in Him, you are brightly shining, too.
If you are like me, that is my heart’s desire even though I don’t always feel like it OR act like it. Ugh!
But that is part of the knowing God PRACTICALLY.
When I feel like the darkness is swallowing me up, I remind myself that Light overcomes darkness.
And when I discover some dark place within me, I actively pray and ask God for help. I confess the darkness and bring it into the light and trust that He is greater than my weaknesses.
Last year, I didn’t want to part with ALL of the strands of white lights so I left a few up saying they were for winter.
Eventually the evergreens and lights made it to the green tubs in the basement, but I left one strand that runs along hearth of our fireplace. When we turn on the switch that lights all the lamps in the living room, those also come on.
They have “delighted” me all year. They remind me daily to carry the joy of this season of celebrating the coming of Christ AND anticipating the day when He will make all things right and filled with His Light as He will surely return.
Enjoy the lights but let them remind you He is the Light of the world and in Him, you are bearers of that Light.
Blessings as you start your week <3