Summary: Jesus said we should be "the light of the World." But just how and why should we shine that light?
I asked the congregation: “How many of you have already taken down your Christmas lights?” (This was 7 days after Christmas Day, and about a 1/3 raised their hands)
“Well, how many of you will take down your decorations NEXT week? (a few more raised their hands).
How many of you plan to keep your lights up all year round? (nobody raised their hand)
OPEN: It’s fairly obvious none of us intend to leave our Christmas lights up all year round. But there is one family in Baltimore, Maryland that did exactly that. If you drive down their street after dark, any month of the year, you’ll see Santa driving his sleigh on their roof surrounded by so many Christmas lights it lights up the night sky. And it's been like this ever since last year about this time.
Apparently, last year just before New Year's, somebody called into a local radio station and complained about their lights still being up (it hadn't even been a week yet). This was followed by several other callers complaining about the same thing.
The Morgans thought: well, if they're gonna to complain if we didn't get them down 5 days after Christmas we're just gonna to leave them up all year long. And they really wanted to do that anyway.
Mary Morgan – the wife - had had several strokes and also needs to use an oxygen tank for her emphysema. That was one of the reasons they’d been a little slow getting the lights down last year.
“I’m a fanatic on Christmas. I love Christmas,” said 63 year old Mary Morgan. “The way I look at it, with me and my emphysema and all, I never know when I’m going to take my last breath. I’m going to enjoy what I want to enjoy.”
That’s the reason you’ll find holiday decorations all over the their home - (inside and out) and - all thru the year - their lights are timed to - go on at dusk - and turn off at 10:30 a.m.
“Christmas lights have a special meaning,” Mary Morgan said.
“They symbolize brightness, love. That’s what Christmas is about.
APPLY: Now most people probably wouldn't leave their Christmas lights up all year long but on the internet I have read of several ideas that might get you to reconsider that. What I read was that some experts say Christmas lights are great for creating ambience. That’s a fancy word to describe setting a mood with soft lights.
These experts talked (for example) about how you could use Christmas lights in your kitchen, dining room, the Living Room or Bedroom, along your stairs or walkways or on a porch or around a gazebo. Some experts have even told you can use these little lights behind your TV set can make your viewing experience more pleasant and satisfying. I read where at least one TV manufacturer is considering putting a soft lighting effect on the back of their monitors for just that reason.
In addition, if your Christmas lights happen to be LEDs, they last at least ten times as long, and are 90% more efficient than regular bulbs.
Now my point is this – Christmas lights can be used all year long for all kinds of things. And, in a lot of ways, they’ll be more satisfying and efficient than regular lamps and bulbs.
Jesus said: "You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:14-16
When God used lights – He used them for more than just holidays.
· When God created the first lights (the Sun/Moon/Stars) He created them to shine all thru the day and night.
· When God had the Israelites put lights in His tabernacle, He declared: "Command the Israelites to bring you clear oil of pressed olives for the light so that the lamps may be kept BURNING CONTINUALLY.” Leviticus 24:2
· And when God told us about Heaven, He said He wanted us to know its light would be continuous: Revelation 22:5 said “There will be NO MORE NIGHT. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever.”
The lights that God creates and commands have always been more satisfying and efficient than any of the lights that this world has ever known.
And what that means is that – when Jesus called you the Light of the world – He was saying that (as far as God is concerned) there isn’t any other light that can be as satisfying or efficient as what you and I can be for Him.