When I was a kid I loved to decorate the house for Christmas. I would pull all the dusty boxes out of storage and happily untangle the garland and the Christmas lights. I would assemble our fake tree and load it with enough decorations so that nobody would know the difference… or so I thought. I hung lights outside wherever I could reach. My Dad and I even fashioned a glowing star to sit atop our 30-foot evergreen tree in the front yard. After all that decorating the best part was still plugging in the lights. Let there be light!
As time passed, I enjoyed the decorating less and less until I didn’t even want to do it at all. Perhaps I was just getting old, or maybe the cultural Christmas with its commercialized, meaningless, gaudy displays and its premature generic holiday music left me lacking. Regardless what it was, the thrill of Christmas decorating was gone. Unfortunately, that translated all too readily to the real annual celebration of God coming to the earth as a man to save us! I had to force myself to get excited for Christmas. Something was very wrong here.
What was it about my childhood that allowed me such joyous energy to decorate everything I could get my hands on? Was I just naive to all the Christmas corruption and blindly following along? Maybe. But there was a carefree spirit in that boy that I wanted to have back. I began to realize that my disenchantment with the frills of Christmas also took away some of its most powerful symbols, the greatest of which is light.
Jesus is the light of the world. He came to shine the light of God’s love into this crazy, dark and twisted world. His death and resurrection shines that love into our lives and we then shine that love into the lives of those around us. So, here’s a crazy thought. This Christmas, do a lot more than hang Christmas lights, be one. Shine. Dig the light of Christ out of whatever storage you put it in, untangle the mess and hang it up for all to see. While the world celebrates something else, let’s embody the love of Jesus this Christmas. Plug in your Christmas light with Jesus’ love. Don’t just talk about peace, make peace with someone who’s in conflict. Don’t just give token gifts to others, give something that shows you really love them sacrificially. Don’t just go with the holiday crowd, decorate your home into a shining reminder that God really did come to save us. Then invite your friends over to tell the story.
Don’t just hang Christmas lights, be one. Let’s shine with the love of Jesus.