January has often been labelled the most difficult month of year (I’ve said this myself). In this month, we find ourselves in the throes of winter and spring seems far away. The sun hides as bad weather makes frequent appearances. Colds and flu seem to be everywhere. Plus, the colours, lights, decorations and special feelings of Christmas are all but gone. Some would describe these feelings as the postChristmas blues, the long and dreary days of winter or sun deprivation.
So, what do we do when the Christmas decorations are put away and we’re left with the extra bills from Christmas shopping, a few extra pounds from the Christmas baking and a touch of winter gloom?
These feelings of weariness and gloom may even translate into our spiritual walk. Perhaps we still have a passion for Jesus, but it’s in hibernation for reasons we might find hard to articulate. When the holiday excitement of the miraculous birth story, the visit of the angels and the Wise Men has worn off, and the transcendent music has all been put away for another year, we are left with the ordinary stories of Jesus to sustain us.
I think our most important challenge is to hang on to Jesus. I admit, it’s not easy to live in the awe and wonder of the King of Kings when it is cold, stormy and dreary (literally and figuratively). The problem, of course, is us. Jesus is just as wonderful and miraculous as he was at Christmas. The abundant grace of Jesus is as boundless in the middle of January as it is on December 25. The light of Jesus doesn’t go out when the lights of the season are put away. Jesus said, “I am the light of the world” (John 8:12).
In ancient biblical times, it was the Jewish tradition to light up the city during festivals. Isaiah spoke of a Messiah who would be a light for all nations (see Isaiah 49:6). As the pillar of light led the Israelites through the desert at night (see Exodus 13:21), so Jesus leads us through the darkness of this world.
Light cannot be anything other than what it is. It dispels darkness; it enables us to see what we are doing. God is light and because we have the Holy Spirit living inside of us, so are we. We are to be God’s light ambassadors on this earth, shining for him. Matthew 5:14-16 says, “You are the light of the world … let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”
If Jesus is the true light that gives light to everyone (see John 1:9), what does it mean for us to be his lights? It’s obvious that our light is not selfgenerated but rather a reflection of the light of Jesus. As we walk in his light, his goodness will illumine us and his truth shine through us. Our every situation and circumstance are opportunities to live an active faith, sharing the truth of who God is. The light we spill out diminishes the darkness, giving a glimpse of what God wants to do, can do and would love to do in our lives.
As you think about Jesus, who came to be the light of the world, I encourage you to think about what kind of light you need:
- As the creator of light, may God be given space to create light in your life (see Genesis 1:3).
- When you’re fearful, may his light make you brave (see Psalm 27:1).
- If you are needing direction, may his light show you the way (see Psalm 119:105).
- May the light of Jesus chase away the darkness of loneliness, despair, hopelessness, confusion, hurt or anger (see John 8:12).
- May we be a witness to the light of Jesus by the way we live (see Matthew 5:16).
May we passionately pursue a relationship with Jesus, one that renews our hope, joy and trust in him, as we experience a deeper and abiding awareness of his presence in our life.
Shine on Christmas lights! Even when we’re unplugged for the season, may we hold the brightness of Jesus in our hearts and light the world with his love.
Lt-Colonel Roxanne Jennings is the secretary for personnel in the Canada and Bermuda Territory.
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