One of the characteristics so striking about the Christmas Season is how bright it is. Lights are strung on everything that doesn’t move and many people who do. We wait for the magical moment trees are lit in town squares, Rockefeller Center, The White House. Car rides at night are extra special and astoundingly beautiful. Cold, clear winter nights reveal the personalities and the hearts of those who string and shine their lights in celebration for the world to see.
As Christians we are called to be ‘lit up’ all the time. “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven, Matthew 5:16. We are to lighten the paths of others, especially in times of great darkness. As striking as the lights are at the beginning of the holidays, it’s bewildering how quickly everything plunges back into darkness when they are over. The contrast is stunningly sad, I think.
When discussing this with a friend and colleague last Christmas she reminded me that we can only truly value the light when we’ve experienced darkness. Without the contrast there is no appreciation, no baseline: “….the dark provides the optimal context for leadership…if the pathway to the future were well lit, itwould be crowded,” (Andy Stanley).
It reminded me of a story about Robert Louis Stevenson. One night as a small boy, his nanny was attempting to put him to bed. Despite calling him several times she could not pry him away from the nursery window. As she approached it she saw what had captured the boy’s attention. A lamplighter was lighting the streetlamps. “Look, Nanny! That man is putting holes in the darkness!”
Light is so spectacular after you’ve been thrust into darkness. For those suffering through Hurricane Sandy, it seems the entire world waited for electricity to punch holes in the darkness of the Manhattan skyline and the New Jersey shoreline. In the chaos from which God formed the Earth, the first spoken words in the Bible were “Let there be light.” It was the place of beginning – the first day. Imagine how impactful that first light was.
Not everyone can know light if darkness is all they’ve ‘seen.’ “If you have anything really valuable to contribute to the world, it will come through the expression of your own personality – that single spark of divinity that sets you off and makes you different from every other living creature,” Bruce Barton. Where and for whom can you provide a spark or turn on the light?
Through the years I have usually been the first person into the workplace each day. I doubt most colleagues and employees ever noticed that my first order of business is to ‘bring light.’ Similarly, I dislike the thought of my husband arriving home to a dark house. The importance of spreading light likely came with my induction into The Beacon as a teen and was re-inforced for years when I worked for a media company with the motto “Give light and the people will find their own way.”
During the dash through the holiDAZE, try to light(en) up and leave a path of sparkle and joy in your wake. You can do it by flipping a switch, leaving a donation, branding a smile, setting an extra place at the table. “Most of the beauty of light owes its existence to the dark. The most powerful moments of our lives happen when we string together the small flickers of light created by courage, compassion, and connection and see them shine in the darkness of our struggles,” Brene Brown.
My best wishes for a BRIGHT, very blessed and Merry Christmas!
~From the desk of Becky Morlok~Share with a Friend or Colleague