When I was a fourth grade teacher, my class spent the month of November compiling a Christmas book that they could give their parents. The assignments included descriptions of decorations, the process of baking something for the Christmas meal, even a persuasive essay of why their parents should get them the gift that they wanted.
And I always made them end the book with a reflective piece about what Christmas meant to them. What amazing chapters those became. I imagine their parents treasured their books!
That’s a great exercise for anyone, though. What about Christmas stands out to me? This year? Right now?
Well because my chapter in A Ruby Christmas deals with a visit to Paris, the lights of Christmas are standing out to me this year.
My girls and I just came back from Lowe’s, getting a new water hose from my husband. Do I need to describe to you what Lowe’s looks like after Thanksgiving? It’s not exactly the Christmas sprawl of Hobby Lobby or Garden Ridge, but close. (In a manly sort of way!)
While there, a display of synchronous lights caught my attention. I was sorely tempted to just grab a couple of boxes of new lights for our house. We have a tradition of light-hanging every year. Usually on a cold night—although last year my girls were barefoot in shorts and tee shirts—and always after sunset. The after sunset part is key. If we do the lights in daylight, we can see around us better, but we can’t see the lights themselves. We can’t see where some are faulty or discolored. The ones that only barely shine don’t show up. In a nutshell, we can only see the lights when we are looking at them surrounded by darkness.
That’s sort of profound when you think about it. I think about the angels announcing Christ’s birth and the star that led the kings to him. Bright lights shining into the darkness of a hopeless world. And their light made that much more brilliant because of the very darkness Christ came to eliminate.
And Christ as the Light of the world is the epitome of this thought. Isaiah, the prophet, testified of him over 400 years before his birth. “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shined.” (Isaiah 9:2)
But the inspiration of the Christmas lights goes even deeper to me. Jesus said, “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:14-16)
So the message of the Christmas lights is not only a reminder of Christ as the light of the world, but that we are—I am—reflectors of that light.
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Marji is a homeschooling mom of 4 with the oldest working in the mission field in Africa. She spends her days transporting to and from volleyball, teaching writing classes at a local coop, and directing the children’s music program at her church. With decades of leading worship, directing and performing in theatre productions, and script-writing, Marji took the plunge to creating scintillating Christian romance and romantic suspense novels with a side of Texas sassy. She invites readers to unravel their inspiration, seeking a deeper knowledge of the Lord’s Great Mystery that invites us all.