Late one afternoon, my husband and I sat at the table playing cards. We also enjoyed a clear view of the sea from our third-floor dwelling. Our attention frequently shifted to a couple of wind surfers who would zip by in one direction before turning around and going past the opposite way. I wondered aloud how they managed to keep the wind in their sails no matter which way they faced.
As the daylight faded, we turned on a light in order to continue our game. The wind surfers were still visible. I watched one fall several times and thought it was time for them to head for shore before darkness settled around them. The sun sets quickly here. One moment we have dusk and the next is blackness.
Moments later, I struggled to see the view outside my window. The outside world had become dark and I could only see was what was inside, reflected in the glass. I was looking at me!
I thought of this at church on Sunday, when the third advent candle, the one representing joy, was lit. We are called to be joyous people. I had become distracted by a disappointment that was consuming my thoughts. My focus was on my perceived lack and not on the blessings surrounding me. No wonder my view of the outside world had darkened.
Repentance quickly followed as I was reminded anew of the joy I have in Jesus. My journey into the darkness enabled me to fully appreciate the light. As we prepare for Christmas, the celebration of Christ’s birth, I pray the joy of the Lord will be reflected to those I encounter.
The decision was not easy. Two of our nine-year-old granddaughters wanted to spend the night in our camper van. The dilemma came when they told me they could sleep there without me. I didn’t like this idea at all. Who would protect them or comfort them if they became afraid?
We were in a gated, secure family RV park and my husband and I would be mere steps away in our trailer. Somehow this didn’t make me feel any better.
I turned to the girl’s parents for guidance. Truthfully, I was willing to let them be the bad guys who said no. They had no concerns so reluctantly I agreed.
One of the first things I did was to ensure they could open the door to get out of the van on their own. No problem there. I must have forgotten they are nine and not two!
When the girls were tucked in for the night, we let them know the lights on the outside of the van and the trailer would be left on. That way they could easily find their way to us in the dark of night.
A light in the dark brings comfort. That is why Jesus told his followers to let their lights shine before others. We can do this by walking with God and letting His Spirit shine through us.
In this way we are able to shine a comforting, joyful light to people we come in contact with. And, as I learned with my granddaughter’s camping experience, a little bit of light dispels a lot of darkness.
Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in Heaven. (Matthew 5:16 NIV)
Late one evening my husband and I drove through dark mountain passes. There were no streetlights and the high beam setting on our headlights was used and appreciated. Without them, we couldn’t find our way through the darkness.
When another vehicle approached us, we would dim our lights. It was surprising how many of these vehicles did not return the favour. We would be blinded by the brightness of their lights which made it difficult to see.
I thought about this and wondered if it could be related to life. When I use my talents and abilities, I am, in effect, shining my light. The purpose is to brighten the way for others.
If I stand before you saying, “Look at me” I am using my light to draw attention to myself and not for the benefit of others. In this way, I could be blinding you from seeing what you need to see.
Jesus was the light of the world but never blinded people with his light. Instead, he used it to lead people out of the darkness.
Like the moon reflects the light of the sun, my life should be a reflection of the light and love and Jesus. Only then, can I point people to the everlasting light found in the Son of God.
Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.” (John 8:12 NLT)
Earlier this week multitudes of people put their lives on pause to witness the solar eclipse. During the eclipse the sun disappeared from view, either completely or partially, depending on your observation area.
Since I didn’t have the proper viewing glasses, I chose to watch it on the television, rather than risk burning my eyes. It was interesting to see the sun gradually become hidden as the moon passed in front of it.
I started thinking of the times in my life where I’ve found myself in increasing darkness. Something has eclipsed the light in my life.
Maybe you’ve experienced the same thing. Here are a few questions I’m asking myself.
What have I been eclipsing for years? What dreams, goals, wishes, skills, etc have I put off and never realized? Maybe now is the time to remove the blockage I’ve put in place and just go for them!
Am I eclipsing something right now? What am I afraid of? I spent years feeling it was safer to remain unseen than to risk finding my light. It wasn’t the truth!
Is there a reason I’m not shining my light? Is it because I’m afraid I’m not good enough? Who is missing out because I’m hiding out? What if I’m depriving more than myself?
Are there areas where I am not letting in the light? Am I refusing help when it is readily available? Do I open myself to new experiences? I wonder what I might be missing out on by choosing to stay in the dark.
If I’m totally honest, there may be a few areas where I am eclipsing my own life. Are you also guilty of putting your life on pause, moving slowly into darkness while watching the brilliance of someone else?
It’s time to remove the blockages and step into the light. I’m ready, how about you?
In the pre-dawn hours, I awakened to the music of birdsong. I’m used to hearing birds in the daylight but the night time melody caught me by surprise.
Once the sun rose, the distinctive sound heard hours earlier was no longer evident.
I soon discovered that this was not a one-time occurrence but one repeated nightly during the late spring and early summer.
As I enjoy the happy sound of this nocturnal chorus I wonder if God gets the same pleasure from hearing my voice when I call out to him. Is it like music to his ears?
In some ways, I’m similar to the night time warblers. I call out to God in my darkest hours but, sadly, my voice can become silent when the light returns to my life.
God wants to hear from me in good times as well as bad. I must remember to let my words of praise and thankfulness be every bit as evident as those of my petitions for help. Maybe the music to my ears in the night is a reminder to let my words be constant music to the Lord.
“Never stop praying.” (1 Thessalonians 5:17 GWT)
“Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.” (Colossians 4:2 NIV)
Late one night I was driving home on a long, dark road. The lack of traffic meant there were no other headlights to brighten the road. I felt alone in the darkness.
Most of the towns I passed were in low-lying areas and their lights couldn’t be seen until I was almost upon them.
In the distance, I saw a glimmer of light that brightened as I drew nearer. The city I live in is built on a hill and its warm, welcoming glow could be seen from afar.
In the bible, Jesus tells us we should be the light of the world. This is important all the time but maybe even more so in the long, dark days of winter. I wondered how I could be a warm, inviting light for others.
It may be something simple like a friendly smile or word of encouragement. Maybe I could give my time to someone who needs a helping hand. Or, I could take a plate of Christmas cookies to someone who doesn’t bake.
When I stop to think about it, there are lots of ways to shine light into the lives of those around me. By showing kindness I am letting people know I care about them. In this way, the light of Jesus shines through so others will know they are not alone in the dark.
“You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hidden.” Matthew 5:14 NIV
Have you ever rearranged furniture only to notice the flooring is now two different colours? The outline of the furniture placement can be seen in a darker shade than the remainder of the floor.
The sun lightens the areas it can reach. The areas it can’t access remain a darker colour.
While listening to someone describing this in a home they had just taken possession of, I recognized an analogy to my life.
There have been many changes in my life since the light of God’s son, Jesus, has been shining into it. The areas I’ve opened to him are much lighter and brighter. He has taken away the darkness.
The light of Jesus is gentle and loving. It does not cause harm by scorching. When I attempt to shine my own light it can be harsh. I don’t intend to cause damage but without the filter of Jesus, that is exactly what can happen.
My ego driven light is not consistent. The Father of heavenly lights never changes. Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” I choose to stand in his light.
Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. (James 1:17 NIV)
When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12 NIV)
“It must be the middle of the night” I thought. Our bedroom faces east and the early morning sun often wakes me earlier than I’d like. What I heard didn’t make sense in the darkness that surrounded me.
The sound of birds in the back yard was unmistakable. It was normal to hear their cheerful chirping n the daylight but not during pre-dawn hours.
The memory of their song danced around the edges of my mind when I arose in the morning light. I realized the sounds in the night had a message for me.
It’s easy to sing and be happy when the sun is shining and all is bright in my little world. The test comes in the blackness of the night. When all is dark around me, how do I react? Am I sure the darkness that seems to consume me will never retreat? Or, do I trust in the Lord?
God’s Word says not to be afraid in the dark times because he is close beside me for comfort and protection. He causes all things to work together for my good. I know from past experience that God has birthed incredible blessings from some of the darkest points of my life. My faith tells me to sing praises and to watch in anticipation for the dawning of a bright new day.
Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me. (Psalm 23:4 NLT)
Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. (Lamentations 3:22-23 NIV )
And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. (Romans 8:23 NLT)