“I am the light of the world; he who follows Me shall not walk in the darkness, but shall have the light of life.” (John 8:12 NASB)
This past weekend it was time to decorate for Christmas. It’s something I look forward to for the most part. So, my husband set up the old artificial tree and my daughter and I began to decorate. The first order of business is always the lights. I plugged in the lights to be sure they were in working order before I placed them on the tree. Since this is my least favorite job, I only wanted to do it once. I don’t want to have to take them down and restart all over again. After checking to be sure they were lit, I started putting them on the tree. This is a daunting task to say the least and I was rather frustrated by the time all of the lights were placed just so. But I knew the work was worth the effort to have a lovely sparkling Christmas tree lighting up the living room.
As I plugged in the lights to witness their beautiful display I was horrified to learn that some of the lights were not working. Oh my goodness! How irritating! I thought I checked them before I started putting them on the tree. I spent the next fifteen minutes trying to find bulbs to replace those that weren’t in working order. You are supposed to start replacing them one by one until you find the burnt out bulb. I couldn’t even get that far because I could not find replacement bulbs…ugh!! I’m sure I figured that I’d never need them so I threw them in some box…somewhere. Thankfully, the bulbs that were not working happened to be at the end of the last string on the back of the tree. So, I decided to leave them as they were and just shove the dead bulbs under the tree skirt. No one will ever know that half the string is unlit, only me. Crisis averted, or at least swept under the tree skirt.
The only problem was, the tree wasn’t sparkly enough for me. It seemed kind of dull. I had spent a lot of time placing the ornaments, especially the shiny balls that are supposed to reflect the light. I had placed all of the lights on the tree, but it just didn’t have that “WOW” factor. So, after a couple of days of disappointment, looking at the half lit tree, I decided it needed more lights. I meandered out to the garage for more lights. I looked for more colored lights since that’s what was on the tree, but all I could find were white lights. Well, they would have to do, since that’s what we had. I started gingerly stringing them on the tree, careful to wind them between the lights that were already there. I didn’t want them to look uneven. With each row, I noticed something. The tree was becoming brighter and brighter. And as each of my kids walked through the room, they noticed the difference too. My daughter even commented, “Now that’s a pretty tree!”
As I sat there last night looking at the Christmas tree I realized something. I realized that until the white lights were added, the tree didn’t really come alive. It was kind of dull and boring until the unadulterated white lights were added. We love the colored lights but it’s very apparent that the tree with the additional lights now glows as it hadn’t before. It’s much brighter and prettier. It’s sparkly, just the way I like it.
When we have the Light of Jesus living within us, we shine. When we are following Jesus without compromise, something is different. Our perspective is positive. Our actions are kind and selfless. Our focus is on the One who shines through us. There are those occasions though, when the worries and cares of this world cause our lights to become dull or even extinguished. We become overwhelmed by the circumstances of life and we lose our spark. We become discouraged but we are not out because this is when our gracious God lovingly shines His light again and we are revived. We are encouraged. The darkness is overcome with light again. And its beauty causes us to shout His praises.
Lord, help us to focus on you. Fill us with Your Spirit that we might shine for You. Lead us and guide us with Your beautiful light.