There is such a universal appeal in the twinkle of Christmas lights. Many businesses and shopping districts keep white lights twinkling year round. However, the tiny lights in rainbow colors have a uniquely Christmas vibe. I’m struck by the way that we can only appreciate the twinkle of a Christmas light in the midst of darkness. Perhaps there is something deeper for us to reflect on as we walk or drive along enjoying them. Maybe with a peppermint mocha?
Truth be told, I have a love/hate relationship with Christmas lights. Hate the tangle. Hate the 4 foot burned out section. Hate the scratches and occassional piercing that my hands suffer while putting them on and off the tree. But I love the simple magic they bring to a room when all else is dark.
I think that is the point. The tiny lights shine more beautifully in the darkness. Like many of us, I’ve had some truly rotten experiences that happened in my life. For many years, I railed against my past. It shouldn’t have happened. Life shouldn’t be, or shouldn’t have been, this or that way. Little by little, as I have experienced spiritual healing, I see that God’s light actually shines more brightly surrounding me whenever darkness closes in. Faith just gives me clearer sight to see it now. The more I embrace the fact that He shares in our suffering with us, I am able to let go of the fear that keeps His light from filling my heart. My anger that something shouldn’t have been is a form of pride that rejects God’s will and clings to resentful darkness in my soul.
Christmas lights can remind us of the perpetual paradox of God’s love in our lives. The darkness of sin and pain and evil in our lives is always an opportunity to know, experience and appreciate the power of God’s light and life and love. I am now just beginning to glimpse the value in suffering. That darkness can heighten our ability to appreciate the exquisite beauty of the light. Saint Paul said in his letter to the Romans Chapter 5:20:
“And where sin abounded, grace did more abound…through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
The darkness surrounding us does not have to be the darkness within us. Choosing to trust in God’s promises, plans and providence enables His light to shine within me. Within you too. That’s the miracle of faith. Each of our tiny lights shine from the inside out and can pierce the darkness with mesmerizing radiance.
“What came to be through him was life,
and this life was the light of the human race;
the light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness has not overcome it.” (John 1: 3-5)
So, as the dark season of winter wanes on and the darkness of modern culture looms heavy, calling us to kick our Christmas tree to the curb on December 26; let’s keep the light of Christmas lit. We adopted children of God need to share our Christmas gifts. By allowing His mercy to fill us with His love we are plugged into the power source and can shine His light for others to see, enjoy and ultimately be drawn closer to Him through us.
So, yes, let’s leave the lights on. Far into the new year.
Award winning author, speaker and catechist, Cathy Gilmore’s passion is to cultivate each reader’s spiritual imagination through writing that touches the heart with the transforming love of Christ. Cathy’s experience with the Montessori-based children’s Bible study program, Catechesis of the Good Shepherd gives Cathy a unique approach to writing children’s literature. Her endearing children’s book Little Lamb Finds Christmas is the story in which the LOVE of the Good Shepherd, the MIRACLE of the Peaceable Kingdom and the JOY of Christmas are all tucked into one charming holiday parable. Follow Cathy @The PowerOfParable on Twitter.