It was a cold, blustery day and only a few days until Christmas. I was feeling so overwhelmed with all the hustle and bustle of holiday activities. How was I ever going to finish everything I needed to do before Christmas Day? I had to clean the house, buy the groceries, start the baking and finish my shopping for Christmas gifts.
In this busyness the church we attended had also signed up to sing every Sunday in December at the nursing home. I wasn’t exactly chipper about that and thought to myself, “Half of them can’t hear and the other half just sleep in their chairs while we sing so why are we there?” I scolded myself for thinking such a terrible thing and dutifully pasted on a smile before heading out to the church parking lot so I could drive and meet everyone else at the nursing home. Pulling into the parking lot I thought, “Maybe, just maybe, we could get finished in time for me to hit the mall and finish getting the last few presents needed to go under my Christmas tree.”
The cold wind whipped the hem of my long coat around my legs as I hurried into the recreation room. Helping to pass out the worn blue hymnals to everyone I found myself thinking, “Let’s get this show on the road people!” Once we started to sing I noticed the Christmas tree lights seem to be extra bright and the star at the top was even brighter . Then it hit me like a ton of bricks and I almost dropped my hymnal. The bright star represented Jesus and the little lights represented us. These little lights were smaller but great in number and received their ability to shine from the larger light. A verse swept through my mind ….let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven (Matt 5:16). Our good deeds are for the purpose of glorifying God not out own image!
He is Christ which means the anointed one and his anointing and we are Christians which means little anointed ones. He wants his anointing to be in us and light up the world! That light-the one from Him- is where our good deeds are to originate from, not from religious duty. That is the kind of light that glorifies Him. He is the light of the world! People might see us doing stuff but they can’t see the light without us allowing Him to shine through us. It isn’t about doing more but about “being” or becoming more like Him so His light can shine through us. Also, in Matthew chapter 5 Jesus is talkimg about the Beatitudes and the attributes he wants us to have or “be” like: merciful, peacemakers, pure of heart, hungering & thirsting for righteousness, and meek.
The more I sang the happier my heart became and the more I felt like “Christmas”. Baking Christmas cookies had never made me feel like this! I began to understand that Christmas isn’t about trying to make it seem like Christmas by doing all the things we think we must, like decorating and gift wrapping but it is really allowing His light and love to flow out of us and touch people. That is what happened the first Christmas. He was born and a great light came into this dark world. Wise men (and women) were and still are guided by it.
That day I learned that being Christmas is so much different and better than doing Christmas. The folks at the nursing home had given me far more than I had given them. My heart was filled with joy and I felt so relaxed and less stressed. I guess that is why Jesus said, “ If you’ve given to the least of these then you have given to me.” It felt like I had been given back a little piece of heaven!
His yoke really is easy. We make Christianity hard by trying to do it in our own power and being miserable. May we all this Christmas season become the “little lights” of his anointing and His vessels that illuminate the darkness. Then our good works won’t be duty and rather than praising what we have done they will see His power in and through us. He gets all the glory forever and ever. Amen.