Thoughts: One of the challenges we face at this time of year is the fact that it gets dark so early. It seems like it was just the other day that we had daylight hours after dinner, and now darkness looms by the time you are heading home from work. It makes it hard to keep your spirits up when you’re used to a lot more sunshine. The thing about darkness is that you really can’t see very well in it. I would think many of us have had the experience of being in the dark, alone, someplace that may have been unfamiliar. When you’re in that situation, it’s easy to imagine that there are dangers lurking in every nook and cranny of the darkness. Not being able to see clearly frightens us, and our fearful minds can imagine all kinds of things. Fortunately, even if we find ourselves in a place where the darkness seems oppressive, we have the hope that the sun will come up soon, and it will be light again. I think that’s one of the reasons light plays such an important role for us at this time of year. We light up the Christmas tree, we light up our houses, we light candles. The light is something that gives us hope in the midst of a world that can feel very dark, literally or figuratively. Isaiah wanted to give people that kind of hope. He spoke of one who would come to lighten their burdens, to right the wrongs, to restore all things to way they were meant to be--a way that makes it possible for us all to live full lives of joy and purpose. And so as we light up our trees and houses this year, let’s remember the reason why we do it. We do it to remind ourselves that we have a light that shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never overcome it. We do it to remind ourselves that there is no place so dark in this world that the light of Christ cannot shine on it. And we do it to remind ourselves that we are to bear that light to the ones who are walking in their own darkness, to share with them the joy and peace of our hope.
Discussion: How has Christ shined his light on you and those around you this week? How can you share that with others? Do you struggle with darkness in your life often? Who in your life can you help out of a darkness? How can you remind yourself and those around you about his light in this Christmas season and all year round?
Activity: A friend suggested this idea to me and I quite like it: Add a candle, Christmas lights, or a representative of light in a place it wouldn't normally be. Maybe on your desk at work, in your car, on your kitchen counter or in your purse. Let this serve as a reminder for you that you have an everlasting light for any darkness in your life AND that we are called to shine that light with others, who may not yet know about Him and the wonder He works in our lives.
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