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The Light of the World

So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. – Luke 2:16-18

A few weeks ago, as I rounded the corner toward our home after a tiring day, I was greeted by a neighbor’s home beautifully lit up with Christmas lights. I can’t tell you how much that ministered to my soul.

I’ve had a hard time getting into the Christmas spirit this year. Someone important to us was diagnosed with cancer earlier this year. Several couples we know are either going through divorces or are on the brink of one. And this time of year always reminds me of my parents. My mom died a week and a half before Christmas. The next year, my dad died the day after Thanksgiving.

Those lights lifted my spirits.

They brought me back to the original meaning of Christmas lights: to proclaim—to remember, really—that Jesus is the Light of the world.

As Christmas becomes ever busier, ever more commercial—and as all of that bumps hard against the Constant Negative News about the impeachment, various wars and protests, and who knows what next—it restores my soul to re-read the story of the first Christmas.

I need the reminder that the first celebrants were not in a hurry to get to the mall; they were in a hurry to get to Jesus. And upon seeing Him, their thoughts did not turn toward fretting over what to buy or bake; they turned toward telling others about Him. That’s a timeless prescription for a great Christmas.

While Jesus is the true Light of the world (John 8:12), remarkably, He used the same metaphor to describe us, His followers.

You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. – Matthew 5:14-16 

So, this Christmas, remember that you don’t have an obligation to prop up the economy, but you do have an opportunity to spread the word about all that has been told you about this child.

That isn’t about adding one more thing to your to-do list. No one needs that. It’s simply about being who God made you to be.

You never know what people are going through, but it’s a sure bet that many people you encounter every day are going through some kind of difficulty. And whatever it is, this season has a way of magnifying the pain.

So, as you take in the Christmas lights this year, remember what they represent. Jesus. The Light of the world. And remember this: You’re the light of the world, too.

Take it to heart: “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” – John 13:34-35

Take action: Who could you share Christ’s love with today? Who needs a word of encouragement? Who would enjoy knowing that you’re thinking of them? A call or a note from you might be one of the greatest Christmas gifts they receive this year.

Read more: Isaiah 9:6

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2 Responses to The Light of the World

  1. Wayne Riendeau December 28, 2019 at 9:45 AM #

    Very inspiring and uplifting piece, Matt. Thanks for sharing your heart, and being so bold about the Gospel in some many of your posts over the years. May God bless you and your family in 2020, and I look forward to finding ways for us to talk and to also get together in the new year.

    God bless,

    Wayne & Diane

    • Matt Bell December 30, 2019 at 1:34 PM #

      Thanks, Wayne. Blessings to you and Diane in the new year. It would be great to connect more often in 2020.

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