Being a Christmas light
About 5 years ago, we decided to shop for a new tree… yes, artificial. At that time, pre-lit trees were very popular but I wanted a plain tree because I like to add my own lights.
And when I say I add lights, I’m not talking a string or two. I’m talking hundreds of lights! Last year, I strung up about 13 of the 100 multi-colored bulb strands. Why so many? Though the tree is beautiful with its ornaments and decorations, it comes alive when the lights come on! So I add lights… lots and lots of lights!
When the process of setting up the tree began Thanksgiving week, I discovered a problem. I always plug the lights in to make sure they work before adding them to the tree. Five strands didn’t work. Fortunately I had 4 new LED strands ready to try out so all is good… thought I may still buy more lights after Christmas.
We as Christians can so be like Christmas lights… in both good and not so good ways.
First, the lights are of no benefit if they are not plugged into a power source. For 11 months out of the year, our lights are stored away in darkness. They aren’t plugged in so they give off zero light.
I know Jesus was using a fruit analogy but it works for lights too…
“I am the vine and you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit. Apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:5
If we as Christians want to shine for Christ, we must be plugged into the Savior. How? We get plugged in we spend time with Jesus reading the Bible, praying, and worshiping alone and with other believers.
Even when my lights are stored in the basement, they are still lights… they just don’t serve their purpose or brighten the world. If we don’t stay plugged into Jesus we are ineffective. I don’t want that in my life!
Two, if I had taken the time to check the individual bulbs in the strands that didn’t work, I would have probably only found a few that were blown. Yet even if it had been just one bad bulb, the strand would still have failed.
I wonder how often we forget about the many blessings and provisions God has provided to fixate on one thing that didn’t go the way we wanted. God didn’t give us the job we wanted. God didn’t bring healing for a loved one. He didn’t step in and save a relationship. He didn’t stop a prodigal from leaving home. On the list could go. Sometimes we allow our lights to burn low or go out entirely because we can’t get past this one thing… whatever it is.
Habakkuk provides us with an attitude adjustment. He prayed for God to move and He did…. But not in the way the prophet wanted. God brought in the Babylonians to carry Israel off into captivity. Though Habakkuk struggled with God’s plan, he ended his book with a beautiful passage. Here was his conclusion. No matter what happens…
“Yet I will rejoice in the Lord.” Habakkuk 3:18
Have we as Christians let our lights stop twinkling because we didn’t like God’s plan… didn’t trust him? Today is a good day to read the end of Habakkuk and get back on track.
Three, I love to grab a cup of coffee, turn off all the other lights, and just sit and look at our lit Christmas tree. Gazing at the lights brings me joy and peace.
When we find joy from spending time with Jesus, we can be a joy to others… but am I? Do I treat others with kindness? Do I lend a hand? Do I have a servant’s heart? Do others feel the love of Christ through me?
Lord, you are really challenging me today! Open my eyes to show me where I fall short. Help me to stay plugged into you constantly. Help me to trust in your plan even when it doesn’t look good in my eyes. And please let me bring joy to the lives of others for your sake. Amen!