It's a gloriously sunny, bright day today, this 3rd last day of the year. And, as I pondered on a topic for this year's final blog, I found I was reflecting on how uplifting and energizing a gorgeous sunny day can be. And it's true, isn't it, that a sunny day (usually) will make us smile, and in smiling, we feel happy, and in happiness we're inclined to share it with others. Sunshine is also critical for and promotes growth. (I can attest to that by how fast my hair and nails grow when we're in Arizona!) And oh, how we lament during the winter months over the lack of sunshine. We all count the days until we move our clocks ahead to give us that 1 extra hour of daylight.
I think it's safe to say we're all familiar with one of the most famous passages in scripture known to mankind, "Then God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. And God saw that the light was good. Then he separated the light from the darkness." ~Genesis 1:3-4 NLT, but I believe that beyond defining day and night, light is found inside each of us as well as around us.
"In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven." ~Matthew 5:16 NIV
As I look back over the past year, I question whether I have found ways to be a source of light to others. With the Lord's help, have I shed my tiny light in a meaningful way? We all can feel distressed in the dark shadows of the world events and even in our own personal spaces. It's even more critical these days to tap into the true source of light and help spread it to those around us.
"No one lights a lamp and then hides it or puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where its light can be seen by all who enter the house." ~Luke 11:33 NLT
Winter begins to unfold and for most of us in this hemisphere, it means a time of dormancy for outdoor plants and foliage. They cease growing and look sad and lifeless throughout the season. But, once the spring sun's rays warms and thaws them, they burst alive and become vibrant and fruitful. Our lives will sometimes face dormancy in a season of darkness as well. Times where we feel angry or hurt, fearful or despondent. When we see our loved ones and friends or even complete strangers struggling in a dark season, we can bring a source of light to help them navigate through the treacherous path and into a season bursting with growth and new life. In being challenged by a group of Pharisees, Jesus revealed Himself to them. "Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.” " ~John 8:12 NLT
As we begin a fresh page on the calendar, we can look at ways to spread light to others. There's a saying that someone "looks radiant when they smile". That radiance is a light that will speak volumes to everyone around us, warming our hearts and giving us joy. Small acts of kindness open cracks in darkness and lead to shining light. A gospel tune that I learned as a little girl in Sunday school comes to mind and I think we all need to sing it loud and clear.
But, as well as being a source of light, we need to replenish that light within us. Let us always remember who the real source of light is, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, and let his light guide us to spread it to others. Each of us, with our one tiny light, combined with those of 10s, 100s, 1000s of others, will brighten the world we live in.
Remember that plants always grow toward the light. Keep growing toward THE LIGHT in 2024.
We thank you for giving us the light. We know that our closeness to Your Spirit will keep the light shining. Father, let us each use the light we're blessed with to nurture all those around us and provide them with the spark they need for their light to glow too. Lord, I pray that in the coming year, we remember You, the Light of the World, as our source of strength, guiding us through our times of darkness and struggle. We thank you God, for Your abundant love and protection as we embark on a new year.
In Jesus Name we pray,