In a day where we don’t see many others outside of our small groups and where screens have become our connection points, days where we’re physically distanced from one another and our faces are half-hidden, we can quickly forget that we’re supposed to be light.
As we enter this holiday season, there’s plenty of reasons to think about our own interrupted plans or the ways circumstances have affected us this year—and not without warrant. But it’s also the season where we celebrate the Good News, that our God is Emmanuel, God with us. And we must be good news people too. Suppose we’re “bad news,” letting discomfort win over compassion, efficiency over patience, and criticism over encouragement. In that case, we’re putting baskets over ourselves in a season where we’re meant to be brighter.
Jesus says we’re a city set on a hill, we’re a light on a lampstand. “You’re the light of the world…Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:14-16, ESV)
In years like this one, sometimes it’s hard to believe we’re meant to be bright and give off light to illuminate rooms and warm others. Yet Jesus says that we’re supposed to let our light shine, and when others ask why, we tell them about a Jesus who is with us, among us, and for us. And that is some good news! But the sometimes not-so-comfortable part is that we’re to let our light shine. Meaning that others are supposed to see the light we have and ask questions about it. When we’re seeing fewer people, interacting less, and staying home more, how can we do this?
For many, this Christmas will look different. While it might be easier to dim our lights, let’s remember that we don’t walk in darkness but have the light of life in Jesus (John 8:12, ESV). Let’s find ways to let it shine. Whether you’re gathering around dinner tables or family Zoom calls, be filled with the Spirit of Christ in all your interactions, both near and far. Give light and warmth and cause people to ask why. After all, we have some good news to share.
King Jesus, would you show us what it means to be light today. Would we first feel your light and warmth then give it away to others no matter our comfort or circumstances. When people ask us why we’re practicing patience, bravery, and warmth, would we glorify you and tell of how good your news actually is. Make us more aware of how present you are, that you are Emmanuel, God with us. Help us bring joy to the world, just as you did. Amen.
Consider some reflection questions to ask yourself and others as we celebrate the birth of Christ, the end of a year, and the beginning of a new one.
- Are there ways you’ve put a basket over your light this year?
- What uncomfortable things might we need to do in order to let our light shine a bit brighter this season?
- What does it mean for God to be with us now, in our present life?
- Pick one word from the Matthew 5:14-16 passage and meditate on the meaning of that word. You can say it repeatedly, look up the word’s definition, or find other passages that use the same word. Then, let the Lord speak to you about what that word means.