Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Lights

               Many of us are going to be gathered with family tomorrow, gathered around the Christmas trees, the lights and the joy of being with family as we open gifts, eat good food, and sing carols. Some of us, including myself, are going to be joining with family members who don’t know Jesus, and some of them don’t want to know Jesus. It is my daily prayer, my hearts cry that my family, here in North Carolina and in Iowa would come to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. As I prayed this again this morning, a question popped into my head, and I asked the Lord, “How? How do they see You? How do they come to know You?” His answer to me was found in 2 Corinthians 4:6.
                “For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, Who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”
                It is us, who believe and have been given that light, it is us who give it to those who are without it. But how do we let them see Jesus in us on Christmas? How do we let them see the love and the mercy and the grace that is found only in Jesus Christ? How do we let them see the only hope they have and need? We become a bunch of cracked clay pots, full of light, full of Jesus, and we let His light shine through us.
                I have tried explaining my faith to my family, giving them my testimony, and even preaching to them, and they usually just look at me and roll their eyes. Some of them have told me “it’s all good for you, and I am happy for you, but I will believe the way I want to believe.” Basically, many of them have told me to stop telling them about Jesus, they are content without Him. Christian, you and I know that there is no contentment in the world, and they say this only to get us to shut up. We know that the only true contentment we can have is found in Jesus Christ. So, how do I get them to see this?
                I become what I was intended to be, what I was made to be- a cracked pot, filled with the light of the knowledge of Jesus Christ. I am to allow His light to shine in me, through me, and I am to reflect His glory, the glory of the only Son of God, Jesus Christ. Which, this is all easier said than done, especially when your home is filled with non-believers, or those who say they love God but have no fruit of that love relationship. (Going to church does not make you a Christian, no more than parking yourself in your garage makes you a car.)  
                As I was reading and searching out the answers I needed this morning, I came across a commentary by Jon Courson. He wrote, “I am the Light of the World,” Jesus said. Then He said to you and me, “you are the light of the world.” Was He confused? Are there two lights? No. Think of it this way; Jesus is the Sun, the source of light. We are like the moon. We live in dark times. Yet, as we walk with Jesus, we reflect His light.” The moon reflects the light of the Sun. The moon gets it light from the sun. We reflect Jesus to a dark and dying world. We reflect Jesus to our unsaved family members, to those who say they are believers, but are not walking it.
                When I became a Christian, my husband was not. He was not ready to hear the gospel. It was all well and good for me, but he wanted proof. Even though everyday my life was a testimony to the new life I had been given in Jesus Christ, it was not enough for him; he wanted God to prove Himself to him. No matter what I said or did, he fought against every truth that I gave him. Then one morning, as I was praying and crying for Brett to understand the hope of salvation he had in Christ, the Lord gave me a scripture verse, and for five years, I prayed it daily for him.
                “Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives, when they observe your chaste conduct accompanied by fear.” 1 Peter 3:1-2
                Brett was not won to Christ because of my words, my preaching, my “demanding” he follow the law of God while he was in my house, he was won to Christ because of the reflection of the glory of God that was in me. As we prepare to gather with our unsaved family, with those who say they love God, but really do not, we are to be an example of Christ to them. They are to see in us a reflection of Who Christ is, living and breathing in us. I love the saying, “You may be the only Jesus people ever see.” Instead of preaching at our families this year, let us lay aside our desires and show them who Jesus is. Instead of getting involved in debates over doctrine and what to believe, let us live it before them.
                Ask your family to pray before you eat, to read the Christmas story before you open presents. Let’s remind our families, through the gift that we have been given, of the true meaning of this glorious day. I pray that Christians throughout the nation would lay aside their hopes of preaching at our unsaved relatives, and just live it before them. I have had to walk away from many a conversations with family members, not only because of what was being said, but because it would harm my testimony for Jesus. I did not look down on them for their actions, because that only snuffs out our lights. They know by now that I do not like to take part in certain “celebrations” and they leave it at that. This way, they still see the light of Jesus Christ, without feeling condemned by me (who am I to judge?)
Let us allow our conduct to be what it is meant to be, let us allow our hearts to be filled with Jesus Christ, and may His light shine through each one of us in such a way that even our families cannot deny His grace and His goodness. How we live and walk before the unsaved will determine how they see Jesus.
                It is not easy being in the world, Jesus never said it would be, but what He promises us is the strength to get through it, and the Holy Spirit to guide us. Do not get yourselves caught up in debates about Jesus this Christmas, instead, show them who He is, and let Him shine His light in their hearts. We are to be lights, Christmas lights blinking and glowing in the darkness of this world. So let our lights shine this Christmas, and all the year through. The best gift you can give your family this year is the gift of “the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” Let your light shine, and may our families see the reflection of Jesus Christ this Christmas. Let's be Christmas Lights this year. Amen and Amen.