by Joanie Butman
I read a story recently about a church that was built without electricity. When asked why, the pastor explained that each member is assigned a seat with a candle only they can light. When everyone is present, there’s no need for electricity because the church glows from the light of those candles. The pastor said it impressed upon the members the importance of their attendance to the entire congregation. If only a few people came to church, the light would be very dim. But if everyone attended, there would be plenty of light.
And so it is with Christianity. The brightness of Christ’s light in the world depends on our participation. He plants a spark of the Divine in each of us – our own candle so to speak. However, that light isn’t just for us. Christ wants that spark to grow into a flame as a light for everyone. The more we fan that flame, the brighter His light shines. Then, as we allow His light to shine through us, those around us are encouraged to shine that much brighter themselves.
Most days, I hardly feel like a beacon of light to anyone, but I’ve learned that I don’t have to be. Did you know you can see the flame of a single candle in the dark from 30 miles away? Don’t underestimate the power you hold to bring light into someone’s life. No matter how small you may think your light is, “it may prove to be a great light in the life of another.” When we choose to share in each other’s daily burdens, struggles, joys, sorrows, triumphs and failures, we embody the kind of light Christ brought into the world on that first Christmas.
That said, we can’t expect to be a light to others if we allow our own to die out. We need to remember the importance of choosing to make time for God – especially during the Christmas season with so many distractions pulling us in different directions. We need to choose to take time to allow Him to refill and reenergize us with His love and encouragement so that we, in turn, can do the same for others. Our relationship with God determines the quality of light we bring into our families, our communities, our world.
Jane Hillsmen describes the light of Christmas beautifully: “Christmas will always be in the hearts of God’s children everywhere as they extend a helping hand to a friend in need…as they go about reflecting God’s goodness in the little quiet and unheralded expressions of a loving heart…as they share the light of the world with those who live in darkness.”
Christ is the only power source we need to lead others out of darkness into God’s glorious light. Just as in that church, every time we choose not to shine His light into a darkened world, the light of His ‘church’ dims a little.