Core scripture: “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” (John 1:5)
Message: Last Thursday morning was legendary. It was unlike anything the 7th Grade Blue Team teachers had ever experienced. It was our last full day of school before Christmas Break, and we embarked on a mission—a quest to recognize the bright spots on our team.
Three boys and three girls. Six amazing students. They had all put up with speech after speech from numerous teachers, telling them to fall in line, but they were not the problem. Now they finally got the credit they deserved. Our Cougars of the Semester!
Dressed in holiday gear, Santa hats and all, the Blue Team teachers visited each kids’ classroom. We took turns shouting praises to each kid, allowing thunderous applause to erupt. It felt right! And as each kid took their certificate, we all realized that goodness was beginning to prevail.
This scene got me thinking … the holidays can at times feel overwhelming and depressing. Winter brings short days, long nights. Freezing temperatures set in. There might be family drama. Depression. Financial worries. Anger. Frustration. Not enough time to get everything done. These days can be dark!
But sometimes, all it takes is a shifting of your mind. The light is not easy to find, but you can seek it out if you truly desire it. As bitter temperatures set in today and snow blankets my driveway, I have two choices: I can feel frozen and overwhelmed—or I can see its beauty.
This reminds me of a story. The story took place about 2000 years ago in the little town of Bethlehem. Mary and Joseph must have been dog tired, traveling back to their hometown for the census. There was Mary, about ready to burst in pregnancy, and there was no room at the inn. Can you imagine?
A stable. A dirty, smelly stable was all they had. Slightly unsanitary. She gave birth to her child right there. Meanwhile, the star shone bright in the night sky, guiding the shepherds to this phenomenal scene that would change our world forever. Mary and Joseph made do with what they had and embraced the light that was before them.
In John 8:12, Jesus says, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” Such truth! We have the choice to follow Jesus every day. To die to self, pick up our crosses, and press on. The light He provides pierces the darkness like none other.
Society sometimes has the temptation to get busy and miss the true meaning of Christmas. Don’t let that be you this year. Quiet yourself against the rush of the holidays. Choose to see goodness instead of the evil that surrounds us. Fill yourself with a positive perspective that outshines the darkness.
Focus on the light.
Challenge: Take time to focus your heart on the one true Light this Christmas. Be bold to share that light with others. Share the story of how Jesus changed your life. Invite a lost soul to church.
Scripture study: Reflect, journal, meditate, and/or discuss any of the following scriptures about light.
- “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” (Psalm 119:105)
- “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” (1 Peter 2:9)
- “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.” (1 John 1:7)
- Praise God for the birth of Jesus!
- Pray that we can focus our hearts on that miracle this week.
- Pray that others might come to know Him, seeing His precious light.
Just for fun: Back when I was in high school, my family loved taking an evening to look at the Plaza lights and visit Manny’s Mexican Restaurant to hear the mariachi band sing “Feliz Navidad.” On the way there it became a tradition for my brothers and I to have a singing competition. We couldn’t sing worth a lick, but as competitive as we were, we always brought our A game to sing “Silent Night.” The joke always came when it was my turn to sing. My brothers swear I would always inherit a British accent when I got to the “round yon virgin” part. They would lean forward, trying to stifle their giggles, as my solo crept toward that line, and I would always end up cracking up myself.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank you for providing the light we so desperately need this time of year. Help us find peace in You. Amen.