Light and Hope

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I recently went through an incredibly busy, exciting several weeks of parties and planning and more parties and an absolutely beautiful wedding. Once it was all said and done, I kind of didn’t know what to do with myself. I had been consumed with these responsibilities for so long that when it was over my mind was just blank. It took me a while to get back into life as usual. Well, life as usual has turned into the holiday season which gives me many more things to get wrapped up in. So this Christmas season I am making a concerted effort to keep the focus in our home on Christ. My daughter is just old enough to be enamored with lights and trees and the wonder of Christmas but not quite understanding the gifts and toys and the jolly old elf. I know it is only a matter of time before those ideas try to take over, so I want to instill some better foundations for Christmas while we still can. I am going through an Advent study with Good Morning Girls and have decided to do an Advent wreath with our family. I’m pretty sure we’re not doing it right, but this is our first year, I’m sure we’ll figure it out. Miss Love is more interested with the lighter we use for the candles than the actual readings and devotional, but we will take what we can get from a toddler.

These last two weeks have been talking about Hope and Love. I am using whatever means I can to connect these thoughts and help explain them to my daughter. I mentioned that she loves Christmas lights, like, LOVES them. Every time we pass a house with lights on she says “Woooooah” even if the house we just saw two feet before had lights, the next house gets a “Woooooah”. And then when those houses are out of sight and there are no lights on the horizon I hear “More, more!” from the back seat. So are you ready for my simple, childlike, hope and love connection for all these things? I tell my sweet girl, “You see all these beautiful lights on the houses? They are just like Jesus. God sent him to earth to be the light and hope of the world because he loves us so much and that is why we celebrate Christmas.” I’m not sure what all she is comprehending from this, but if I can use Christmas lights as a away to keep the focus on Jesus this season then that’s what I’m going to do!

Its not only shaping her idea of Christmas but its redirecting my thoughts as well. I think of these houses with lights, some are simple, some extravagant, some are perfectly polished and some are everything but the kitchen sink. It makes me wonder what the light of Jesus looks like in me? Is it shining bright or dimly lit? Is it only the pristine pulled together thoughts that I share on this blog or is it in the everyday moments of my life? There are some people, like these houses, that just put everything out on the front lawn. Its hanging from the roof tops, its draped across the windows and there’s all kinds of stuff strewn about shining lights all over. Jesus covers every inch of them and people come from all over to see. Then there are the many more that display a solid string trimming the boarders yet still proclaiming the same bold message. Now I’m not exactly an over-the-top kind of girl so I imagine that the light of Jesus in me is a little more like the latter. But what really speaks to me is the thought of all the other houses in between. In the midst of all these glowing abodes there are many that are completely dark, no light or hope in them. We forget about them, we drive by without another glance because they don’t have anything to offer us. They are not joining in the holiday spirit. And just as these forgotten houses are dark, so many during this season are broken and hurting and searching for a glimpse of hope.

This year we have a simple strand of lights that adorn our home. Now this is a big step up, for the first five years we were married we didn’t have the time or energy to put anything up. There’s something about having a child though that changes your priorities. Now, instead of adding extra clients to the books or working all hours of the night, we’re spending weekends decorating a tree and stringing lights on the house. We’re driving around for no apparent reason other than to see the wonder in a child’s eyes as she “woooooah”s and “more, more”s at the decor of the season. We are having discussions of how do we ‘do Santa’ if even at all. We are concerned that our daughter learns more about Jesus than snowmen, reindeer and elves. We have this responsibility as light bearers of the hope that Christ brings.

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Jesus was here for a short time on this earth. He brought light and hope to many lives but he also left us with a flickering flame holding onto the hope that he will return one day and we will live in his light forever. That hope is available to all because of the baby born in a manger who lived a sinless life and died in my place. Then he defeated death and proclaimed his victory over darkness. Don’t you want to share that with all the dark homes you see? So whatever that means to you, a note or a card, cookies or treats, a thoughtful gift or just quality time spent with someone in need, use this season to shine a little brighter the hope and love of Jesus Christ. I know that’s what I will be doing.

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