“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” -John 1:5
Christmas is sure to be a bit different for most of us this year. The pandemic lockdowns and restrictions have certainly rearranged the holiday plans of many. Family traditions have been impacted, as some people are not able to see some of their family members like they normally would. Others have faced the loss of income or a loved one, so this Christmas will be especially hard. Even if you’re able to carry on your plans as usual, no one has come into this season completely untouched by this crazy year we’ve had. This has definitely been a dark period in history. In fact, the month of December contains the shortest and darkest day of the year. It’s such a fitting time of year to celebrate the birth of Jesus, who came into the world as “the true light that gives light to everyone” (John 1:9). No matter what your Christmas plans will look like this year, we can all agree that Jesus is worth celebrating.
Our wonderful savior gives us the key to overcoming this spiritually and physically dark season. Speaking about Jesus, the Apostle John said, “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” (John 1:5). The key is “to shine.” Because Jesus lives in the hearts of his followers by the Holy Spirit, we are also filled with his light. In his famous Sermon on the Mount, Jesus says, “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). The darkness is all around us. It’s thick and oppressive, but it will not overcome us. When we let God’s love shine through us, we display his glory to those who are suffering in the darkness. Not only is our light in this dark world beautiful, but it allows others to be drawn to Jesus and become a bright light as well.
If the key to overcoming the darkness around us is to shine, then what does that look like practically? How can we put the light and love of Jesus on display this week?
- Worship Jesus with singing and dancing. Put on your favorite Christmas music and dance with your family and friends.
- Call those you cannot see in person and wish them a “Merry Christmas.”
- Gather with friends and family if you are able to. Nothing can replace the feeling of love you receive from being in the presence of people.
- Give hugs to those you love.
- Find creative ways to serve one another. Bake cookies, do the dishes or deliver groceries for someone.
- Give a surprise gift to someone who doesn’t expect it. It’s not about the amount of money, but the thought behind it that really blesses people. Consider making something to give.
- Spend time laughing and playing games with others.
- Write someone a card telling them how much you care about them.
As we love people, we will shine brightly for all to see the glorious light of Jesus. A simple act of love has the power to give hope to someone who feels desperately lonely and on the verge of giving up. It can pull them out of darkness and into the light. Ask Jesus how he wants you to shine this week and who he wants you to bless. Let’s shine for all to see! May your Christmas be merry and bright!