Sunday, December 05, 2021

Sunday Afternoon Tea - You are the light of the world, a city on a hill!

This past week, I heard a sermon on the radio in the van that talked about our need as Christ followers to be light in this very dark time in history.  I think it was Alistair Begg who was preaching.  I always turn the channel to Moody when it is time for his program.

It reminded me of the children's song, This Little Light of Mine.  After all... hide it under a bushel?  No! I'm going to let it shine! There is some good theology in those old songs.  Much needed theology these past couple of years.

As ponderings so often do, my mind went to the verses in Matthew 5 where the writer of the song was probably inspired.  "You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a basket. Instead they set it on a stand and it gives light to everyone in the house." (verses 14 and 15)

Jesus taught this to the crowd following the Beatitudes.  Jesus was challenging the people to be light in the world and this was before his death and resurrection, before the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.  I'm certain they understood what he was saying about lamps and light and baskets but... how could they be light?

Perhaps many of us are asking that same question today.  How can we be light?  The world is changing, even our country is changing into a place we could never have imagined.  It is scary to see the prices in the grocery store.  It is especially scary when one cannot get the medicine they need.

You tell me I am to be light?  Well, yes!  However my friends, you are not the light and I am not the light.  We are the lamps.  

If you have read Coffee, Tea, Books, and Me for any length of time then you will know that I absolutely love the Christmas season. I especially love the lights and the sparkle.  It is above all other times of the year, the season of sparkle.

One of my favorite times of the day is sitting in the Family Room with the lights of the tree turned on as I sip that first cup of coffee.  Usually there is a cat curled up on my lap, especially if I'm wearing my old flannel housecoat.  Come evening, I am often curled up on the sofa in another room as candles flicker on side tables or soft light comes from the lamp on the buffet in the dining area.

Living in the country, the outside world even before dinner time in December is dark.  One sees the lights of neighboring houses but mostly our yards and the forest are very dark.  Thus, I have quite a few objects that provide light, whether they are lamps, candles, or a Christmas tree.

Lights can bring warmth if they are from a flickering fire in a fireplace. Lights definitely bring safety as they give the lay of the land in darkened rooms. Lights can bring beauty when they are on a Christmas tree or they are shining from a scented candle as we sip tea and listen to the music of the Season.

The porch light turned on provides a welcome to a visitor who arrives after the sun sets or to a family member arriving home late.  Such lights are a sign that we have arrived to our destination, whether our home or a home belonging to someone else.

Of course, during December there are the magical lights that not only brighten our world but add the sparkle of the season.  When we lived in town and our kids were younger, we would walk or drive up and down favorite neighborhoods where houses were known for their lights. I love seeing the festive lights when driving through Downtown.

Our Jewish friends have been celebrating Hanukkah, the "Festival of Lights", to commemorate a miracle of lights.  How important it is to have a light in the darkness for if one were to think about it, all lights are a miracle when it is dark.

So, as I pondered this whole idea of being a light on the hill this past week, I realized that He was asking even those of us 2,000 years later to be a reflection of His light in the dark world.  After all, those people he was teaching two millennia ago were living in very dark times, too.

In this season of sparkle, I have been pondering how I can be a reflection of His light.  I think most of all, I can speak light and life when talking to others.  It is easy today to complain out of anger and even fear but a Christ follower has a secret weapon of Peace and He is a Person.

I can be light by showing kindness when everyone else is cranky instead of letting their mood rub off on me.  Have you noticed how so many people in stores seem to be downtrodden, even in this season that usually brings about cheer and laughter?  

We can reflect His light by being brave, by not giving into fear.  That can only happen if we know His Word and His promises.  We cannot reflect His light if we do not know Him.

I must admit that it is far easier to hide my light under a basket.  It is easier to remain unseen and sometimes it takes work to be His light to a dark world. But He never asks us to do what He doesn't also equip us to do.

For me, I can be His light to neighbors this Christmas by sharing gifts of baked goods and perhaps adding a small book that reflects the meaning of the Season. I can write letters to those I have neglected (you know who you are!) only because I have to type out letters these days.

The easiest way I can reflect the light of Jesus to the dark world is to really be His light.  I need to act toward others as He would act and not as those who do not know Him respond in today's world.  Which quite often means biting my tongue and choosing life affirming words.

I am still thinking through the different ways that I can be His light during this season.  One thing I know is that I need to be filled with His light if I am going to reflect it.  We are living in a time that we need to daily gain strength from His Word and those things that give us strength. For me, that includes faith affirming music... which includes Christmas music in December.

My prayer for this week is to not only be His light but to feel His peace in these trying times.  I always remember when looking at the creche that the baby in the manger has the shadow of a cross on Him already at His birth.  He came to be our Savior.  That message deserves to be shouted from the highest hill.

Image: Season of Peace


Vee said...

Yes, He was the only baby ever born specifically to die. Pondering that gives one pause.

I very much enjoyed reading this post. If you had said that everything is ducky, I wouldn't give it much credence. In spite of the fact that things
are trying and scary... He still provides the light that we reflect.

Anonymous said...

Thank-you for this Awesome message and a good reminder to be a light in these dark times! This was sort of a wake up call for me! I’m way behind on everything from decorating to purchasing gifts due to breaking my ankle last month! So, instead of griping about it, I realized I can choose to be thankful and just do what I can, with a smile, even! I need to remember what Christmas is all about! (From A Charlie Brown Christmas)
Laura C. (WA)

Deanna Rabe said...

Yes, and Amen! We need to shine his light in this dark world!