Choose to Shine a Light

Yet Another Year of Choices

By Barbara Dahlgren

When I think about the birth of Christ, I think of light. A star shone bright casting a light to guide the wise men to where Christ was born. Jesus, Himself, will later tell us, “I have come into the world as a Light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.” (John 12:46)

Jesus is referred to in Scripture many times as the Light. Jesus, the Light, came to the world, but men loved darkness instead of the Light. (John 3:19-21) As Christians we should love the Light, not darkness.

The contrast of light and darkness is often metaphorically used in the Bible to contrast good with evil. There is so much evil and darkness in the world that it’s easy for us to get discouraged. Yet, most would agree that it is “better to light a candle than curse the darkness.”

That familiar saying was first spoken in public in 1961 by Peter Benenson, the British lawyer who founded Amnesty International. A candle encircled with barbed wire became the society’s emblem. Paul said something similar when he told us to “cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light.” He goes on to reveal what this armor of light is: “Put on the Lord, Jesus Christ.” (Romans 13:12-14)

Jesus living His life in us makes us a light in the world as well. Our lights should not be hidden. People don’t light a lamp and put it under a bowl so no one can see it. Instead they put it on a stand so it will give light to everyone in the house. We are encouraged to let our lights shine before others, that they may see our good deeds which glorify our Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:14-16)

We should never underestimate the ability of our light to influence the world for good. Impacting just one person with the light of Christ can make a big difference. Unfortunately, many would rather curse the darkness than shine their lights. Some would prefer to condemn others rather than share God’s love and grace.

We should never let the darkness in the world keep us from shining a light, no matter how small we may think it is. Jesus tells us that darkness cannot overcome light. (John 1:5) Although we might feel like a small candle in a vast darkness, even a small candle can benefit others. It offers light and warmth. Even the small ways we reflect the light of Jesus can benefit others.

We are God’s children – children of light. (1 Thessalonians 5:5) Everything we do can bring light to others. (Colossians 4:5-6) Being a good example shines a light. The testimony we share shines a light. The scripture we quote shines a light. The encouragement we give shines a light. The love we show others shines a light. We are told to let our light shine before others. (Matthew 5:16)

Consider this… Sometimes we forget that we were all once in darkness, needing light. Now we are children of light. (Ephesians 5:8) This would not have been possible without the birth of Christ – the Light coming into the world.

One final thought…

“How far that little candle throws his beams!
So shines a good deed in a weary world.”

~William Shakespeare

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