Light the world

I was in the bank recently when God met me there with a word for the day. An armed security guard’s poised stance, with hands folded in front of him, greeted me at the door. I walked passed him and said, Hello. Nothing.

Entering the bank, I noticed I was the only customer. Good! A quick transaction and I’m outta there.  The teller was friendly. The room quiet.  When she stepped away for a second, I looked around the sterile square building with the ambiance to match. However, next to me was a Christmas tree. Festive! Unfortunately, it wasn’t lit. I looked closer to see if it had lights and indeed it did.

Hmm.  Maybe there isn’t an outlet nearby, I thought. The ornaments were pretty, but it just didn’t catch an eye without the sparkle of tiny lights brightening up the tree.

The teller and I finished our transaction, and I took a chance on offering something potentially embarrassing.  I asked, Would you like me to plug in the Christmas tree lights?

I held my breath for her reply.  Glancing at security cameras, I was reminded that in a bank, one is expected to act within a tight box of behavior. Nothing out of the ordinary. Nothing to draw attention. Do what you need to and leave. Rummaging around on the floor was far from the norm.

Yes! Thank you! she smiled. The outlet is on the wall near the back.

Relieved, I turned toward the tree and searched for the outlet.  Finding it, I realized I’d need to get on my hands and knees to reach it.  Down I went, searching for the plugs. One plug in.  Two plugs in. Done!

I crawled backwards from underneath the tree, still with my purse slung over my shoulder, and stood up – only to find a long line of people now waiting for tellers…staring at me.

EEK! I thought no one was around.  I made no eye contact and quickly headed toward the door.

When lights are plugged in, whether it be on a Christmas tree, on garland, on bushes or mantles, people usually like to stand back and take a look.  I never looked back, though I wanted to.

As I reached the door with the same security guard still not speaking, God met me and reminded me of my dear friend’s words. She often tells her children, Be a light in this world.

With the hustle and bustle of this short Christmas season, where panic and stress is thick in the air, God reminded me that wherever we go, whomever we speak with, we are to leave their lives brighter than we found them.  As followers of Christ, we have the privilege and responsibility of illuminating conversation, situation and circumstance with Jesus’ light – especially at Christmas.

When we are long gone, if we have done our job well as an ambassador for Christ, His light will continue to shine in the path we leave – just like the bank’s Christmas tree was something now beautiful and brilliant to look at while waiting in line.

We may never know the impact of Jesus’ light shining in our lives, but if we could see our path from God’s perspective, it must look pretty cool.  Imagine the map of the world we’ve seen as nighttime sets in.  Suddenly, there are pinpoints of light clustering all around the globe.  If our lives looked like a map, how bright would they shine?

The holidays are hard in their own right.  They bring pressure, stress, distraction, exhaustion and dynamics of relationships that can be both sad and difficult. Believers’ lives are no different.  We have our own share of struggles. But, this is when we need to let Jesus’ light shine in our lives even brighter.

Give the person in the car behind you that great parking spot you could have. Pay for someone’s meal. Bring cookies to the unpopular neighbor, teacher or coworker. Make Christmas more about people than things. Celebrate Christ, not stuff.

Only God can take a wacky moment of lighting a bank’s Christmas tree and turn it into a devotion for me that lasted the whole day. I love that about Him!

Let’s look for places we can shine His light – and begin at home. A hug for a difficult teenager. Patience for a preschooler. Grace for a spouse. And let the path of light continue into every relationship, every moment of this season. After all, this is not only exactly what Jesus did…it is who He is.

John 8:12 When Jesus spoke again to the people he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in the darkness, but will have the light of life.”

Without His light glowing in us and through us, we are just a prickly, sticky mass with a lot of bling hanging off of us.

His light may illuminate spaces that just might surprise us…like our own hearts! Be a light in this world. Shine on!

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