Summary: If our light is to shine for Jesus then we need to stay connected to Him as our source of power and turn on the switch to allow the Holy Spirit to shine through us. We are only reflections of His glory if we keep the clouds of sin away.
ARE YOU CONNECTED?
By Pastor Jim May
As I walked into the church this morning before the sun arose, I entered into a very dark building. Just as any of you would have done, the first thing I looked for was a light switch. Flipping that switch made all the difference in being able to walk through the obstacles that lay in my path. As the light flooded the room, my vision was cleared, the way was shone and I began my journey through the building to take care of the business and the purpose for which I had come to this place.
Without the light I would have tripped over chairs, run into the pews, or maybe into the wall. I would have had to grope in darkness trying to make my way, relying only on my memory, and my own understanding of where everything in this building is located. The problem is, everything tends to get moved, especially after last evening when we totally changed the location of everything in the church for a special dinner.
With the lights now on, I went through the building easily, negotiated every turn with ease, dodged every hazard with no problem, and found my way to the church office.
Then I went back into the auditorium and found the places where I could turn on the various decorative lighting that had been installed for celebration of the Christmas season. I plugged those in, turned them on, and then turned off the overhead lights to see how it all looked. That was the way I left it until people began to arrive.
Even in that low light condition, it was easy to negotiate the building and move about. It doesn’t take much light to dispel the darkness. The important thing is – to make sure that we are connected to a power source and then flip the switch to get the light to shine in the darkness.
The point of all this is that all of us once walked in outer darkness without the light of God in our hearts.
Isaiah 9:2, "The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined."
I love the Christmas Season more than any other time of the year. It’s the only time of the year that some people try to act like they should act all of the time. Of course, not everyone gets the “holiday spirit”. Some people just want to be hateful and obnoxious no matter what time of year it is. But many people are transformed just a little at this time of the year. Most of them get a little more courteous, a little more patient and they allow their “better side”, if there is such a thing, to shine forth.
At this time of year the world, at least in our culture, seems to come alive a little more. We see colorful light displays on many homes, and music of the season fills the air, and the hearts of men are lifted with anticipation of celebrating some holidays with family and friends. Parties are everywhere. Special feasts are planned, like we had last night.
In short, there is just a whole different feeling that comes over the land for a while, until the holidays are past and we fall back into our daily routine once more.
As I considered all of this, I was reminded that the only reason that we have this season is because of Jesus. I know that this is often said in a trite little saying, “Jesus is the reason for the season” and that’s true, but let us not just say it and forget it. We need to take this occasion to really celebrate and spread the news of the birth of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world.
I know that I’m speaking to a people who love Jesus, or you wouldn’t be here this morning. But I also know that it’s so easy to get caught up in the celebrating, decorating and visitation and to really forget that it’s all about Jesus and nothing else.
It’s only because God gave His only begotten Son, that we have the desire and the will to give gifts to other people. It’s only because of the Risen Savior who grants us eternal life that we can celebrate that eternal life in the symbol of an evergreen tree. It’s only because of the Light of the gospel, that we can give true meaning to the lights strung everywhere. It’s only because of the beauty of His love, mercy and grace that we can see the real beauty of God’s creation and the world around us.
The lights and the cheerful hearts and the joy of the season are wonderful things, but I want us to remember that, in the midst of all the colored lights, parties and celebrating, the vast majority of those caught up in the festivities do not know the Lord as their Savior and they are still walking in gross darkness of sin.