One thing I love about Christmas time is the lights. Our neighborhood is ablaze with lights this year—many more than last year! And it seems that with each passing day, more and more lights are added – either at new houses or by already lit houses adding new lights in their yards. I think neighbors see lights of others and want to shine their own. Bob and I enjoy walking the neighborhood with our dog Mandy and noting the brightness and glow. The lights add warmth and give direction as we walk. They penetrate the darkness.
Seeing the lights have made me think of one of my favorite verses:
Do everything without complaining and arguing, so that no one can criticize you. Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people. Hold firmly to the word of life. Philippians 2:14-16 (NLT)
The Message version words this passage in this way:
Do everything readily and cheerfully—no bickering, no second-guessing allowed! Go out into the world uncorrupted, a breath of fresh air in this squalid and polluted society. Provide people with a glimpse of good living and of the living God. Carry the light-giving Message into the night .
As I ponder these verses, these takeaways strike me:
How I live my life matters and influences others, either in a positive or a negative way. I want to light the way so others will experience the love of Christ.
How I treat others does matter. If I am cheerful, I shine for Christ. If I argue and complain, I am not shining brightly for Christ.
I need to exemplify the message of life to others – that of Christ’s sacrificial, unconditional, lavish love for us! Many times we do good things but do not connect that to the power of Christ within us. I want to make sure that people get the message of Christ through my life and my words, not just think I am a “good’ person. That means I have to verbally talk about Christ and His work in my life.
As we shine for Christ, I think we will find our world will be more like my neighborhood—increasingly filled with light. Our light will be a catalyst, causing other people to want to shine as well.
I am evaluating my “brightness” and I encourage you to do the same. Let’s shine our lights for Christ this Christmas season and each day thereafter!