Discovering Spiritual Truths & Celebrating God's Grace in the Every Day Happenings of Life.
I have my Christmas lights up on the outside of our house. Truth be told, I have had them hung for almost two weeks now. I couldn’t help but take advantage of the warm weather. As much fun as the ritual of freezing my fingers off while putzing around with exterior illumination is, it seemed far more enjoyable to be out on the rooftop in shorts and a t-shirt. That type of weather is always a blessing during the early weeks of November. In my defense, I did not turn them on right away. They were plugged in and the timer was set; but I couldn’t quite flip the final switch. Plus, I have added, tweaked, and tinkered with them at different times throughout the past week. But as of three nights ago, I have turned them on. You heard me correctly; I turned on our outside Christmas lights. Our house doesn’t quite have the Clark Griswold, light-up-the-neighborhood glow, but it’s not too shabby for the first time decorating our new abode. We’ve thrown in some holly-themed ribbon, red bows, and garland. I’ve made the necessary schematics for the yet to come addition of our festive inflatables. We do still have a few additions to make. But believe me when I tell you, “It’s a beaut, Clark. It’s a beaut.”
Because of this, I have received (and continue to receive) a bit of good-natured ribbing from people. Family, friends, and neighbors have all scoffed at my early November efforts to decorate. Sour grapes, perhaps?
“It’s not even Thanksgiving yet.”
“Isn’t it a bit too early for lights?”
“The leaves haven’t even all fallen yet.”
“Oh, you’re one of those families.” 😉
Truth be told, I was a little leery to turn the lights on for that exact reason. We do typically wait until the week of Thanksgiving to transition from fall décor to our Christmas wonderland. There was even a bit of internal debate going on in my own head. “Is it really too early? No one else in the neighborhood has their Christmas lights up yet.” Then, over this past weekend, and knowing we are still days away from Thanksgiving, I finally put an end to my yuletide deliberations. “Forget about the hecklers and the flak-givers, we’re going to let our light shine!” All the early-décor doubters can sit in their darkened homes. Not me. If the Hallmark Channel is going to flood the airwaves with non-stop, predictable, and sappy Christmas stories, then my house can glow. Now our 2,000+ multicolored Christmas lights brighten up our turd-colored home—giving it a nice, subtle gingerbread house feel. A few other neighbors have since put up (and turned on) their lights as well. It is beginning to look a lot like Christmas on our street and I love it. No shame here anymore. I put up my lights and I turned them on. And I’m proud of it. And I have even been listening to Christmas music on my commute this week. Bring on the Christmas cookies!
All joking aside, I do have a point. What is it? Consider these early words of Jesus to His disciples, “You are the light of the world… let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:14,16) Jesus is imploring His disciples to live in such a way that they proudly stand out in the world in which they live. Because they are already saved by grace and part of His Kingdom, Jesus wants them to be filled with great joy, influential love, and infectious compassion. When these things radiate from the life of the disciples, their faith will be clear and obvious to everyone they encounter. He wants His followers to be unashamed. He wants them to be bold. To be proud. To be contagious. He wants them to be hope-givers and difference-makers in a world that desperately needs good news.
This is just as true today. Two weeks ago in preschool chapel, the kids and I sang the song “This Little Light of Mine.” Do you remember singing this song in your days of Sunday School? As we inch closer to the Advent and Christmas season, be proud of the faith you possess and the Savior you believe in. Don’t be ashamed. Get lit (in a good way). Let your light shine. Don’t let someone blow it out. It is never too early to rejoice in the good news of Jesus Christ and to celebrate the gift that we have in Him. Forget about what the world says about being politically correct; leave your happy holidays at home and wish everyone you meet a Merry Christmas. This season is about the immense love that God has for all people, beautifully and redemptively on display in the life of Jesus. What a wonderful opportunity we have this time of year to give witness to the saving faith we have in the Christ Child. Sure, there will be people who critique and ridicule you for your Christmas cheeriness and joy. But let the scoffers scoff and the naysayers say nay. You keep letting your light shine before others so they can clearly see what you believe.
Let the grinches grumble and the scrooges scowl. As for me and my house, we will unashamedly do Christmas and let our light shine—no matter how early it is!
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.” Romans 1:16
Pastor Steve Vera