Leave the Light on!

Do you remember the excitement and anticipation you experienced as a child as the Christmas season approached: the smells, your “Christmas” list, looking through catalogs or in the windows of stores and dreaming, putting up the tree and the lights, family times, the day?  I can remember as a rural youngster our family driving the nine miles from Beech Bluff into Jackson, Tennessee, the “big” city, to see the Christmas lights.  Three children in the back seat, oohing and aahing over what we considered the opulent displays of lights and decorations in the yards of the “city homes.”  While we DID have electricity in the rural country setting of my childhood years, there just weren’t very many Christmas light displays–a few scattered here and there, but not like they were in the big city!

It was to a small town, a “rural” area, to a smelly stable that God chose to send The Light of the world, Jesus. I am doubting there were very many “lights” that announced his arrival, and few drove by to see that first live nativity scene as we might do today in our community; but THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD had arrived!  In these days of the Christmas season, we celebrate and rejoice in that fact.  It’s good that we do.  We should.

But might I ask are we looking forward to His coming again with excitement and anticipation? Do our lives put on display “His Light” for others to see as they walk or drive by?  Are we ready for His coming and are we helping others to be ready?

Pastor and author Robert Russell tells the story of a family in their subdivision that kept their Christmas lights on long after the season was past. In fact, their lights were still on through January and the first of February.  As the middle of February drew near, Russell couldn’t help being a little critical. If I were too lazy to take my lights down, I think I’d at least turn them off at night he thought. But about the middle of March, a sign appeared outside the house that explained why they’d left the lights on.  It said simply, “Welcome home, Jimmy.”  Russell then learned that the family had a son in the Army serving in Vietnam, and they had unashamedly left their Christmas lights on in anticipation of his return.  (The Light of the World, Schafer, pp.30, 31)

The Christmas season allows us to point people to the message that Christmas is hope. That hope is found in the Light of the World, Jesus (John 8:12).  Let’s celebrate now, during the season, but let’s “leave our lights on” so others can find their way and be able to celebrate with us when “Christmas” comes again!

Already looking forward to “next Christmas,

Pastor Bob

(It could well come before December, 2016!)

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