The Real Christmas Lights
Dec 18, 2016 03:23AM
By Bonnie Lyn Smith
The phone call came in while I was working in the library:
“Mrs. Smith, your son is in my office and would like to talk to you. Would that be okay?”
Her voice was so sweet and reassuring, the sound of dragonflies and balloons floating, and yet, I knew what was coming next: the panic, the fear, the trembling.
And it did. My youngest son was to begin a mentoring program after school that day, and anxiety grabbed his hand and pulled him along its thorny path. He pleaded with me on the phone:
“Mom, please don’t make me go!”
We know when something is going to benefit our child(ren) and yet they are resistant. But everything in all of the books I read, counseling appointments I attended, and seminars I listened to told me he was old enough to cope through this. It was time. Adults were there to help him (teacher, vice principal, guidance counselor, school secretary). As much as I wanted to reach in and take the challenge away from him and ease his pain, it was not what was best. I made a deal with him to be there for the first few minutes as he transitioned after school and ended the phone call.
Hours later I walked into the school hallway to see a very panicked, tearful face coming toward me alongside his teacher. The vice principal intercepted, and despite how busy he was starting the program, he took time to introduce my son to his high school mentor privately and let him collect his thoughts and still his racing heart.
My son pushed through that day and came out all smiles. God gave him such a kind mentor. Trust had been built not only with me but also with helpful staff around him—and, ultimately, with God.
No matter how big the fears are we bring with us under the tree on Christmas morning, the Savior we celebrate as a baby at Christmas has never left us. From the time we accept Him into our lives as our Savior, He stays by our side. He didn’t stay in a manger, nor did he forget about us when He ascended into heaven to be with His Father again. He sent the Holy Spirit as a gift and comforter from Him to have with us always.
Want to know something? Jesus and the Holy Spirit never stop interceding for us with the Father.
Romans 8:26-28, ESV
Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose [emphasis mine].
Can you imagine? We think we pray a lot! Jesus and the Holy Spirit are actively beseeching the Father on our behalf always.
Romans 8:32-34, ESV
He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died--more than that, who was raised--who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us [emphasis mine].
After that phone call, I went to sit by the lights of my Christmas tree, where my heart steadied and my mind cleared a bit. Yes, the tree is a pagan symbol, but the lights that brighten my living room illuminate the message I believe with all my heart:
Oh, thank You, God, that hope has come!
John 8:12, ESV
Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life."
Whatever heavy weight we carry or set by tree on Christmas morning, hoping for a few minutes to forget our cares and find peace and joy, may the Light of His truth penetrate our hearts:
· The Christ child came.
· He grew.
· He ministered.
· He preached.
· He loved.
· He conquered.
· He is always with us.
· He prays to the Father for us.
· He is the Light of the world that can never be snuffed out.
May His Light shine brightly onto whatever darkness shadows your heart and reflect the amazing glory of the face of the Christ Child—the same face of a Risen Savior!
Those tiny hands and feet flailing in the manger eventually reached across planks of wood for you, to be nailed and crucified, because He loves you that much.
Nothing can take that from you, from me, from those who believe in the truth of Christmas.
Romans 8:38-39, ESV
For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
In His famous Sermon on the Mount, Jesus told His followers that they are extensions of His Light, in that they carry His Light to a broken world. The world around them could see the glory of the Father as they reflected the Light of Christ. This is true for us, too.
Not only will His Light never be extinguished, but we shine it to all of creation.
Matthew 5:14-16, ESV
"You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven."
So you see, we (believers in Christ) are the real Christmas lights reflecting Christ and the Father to a world in darkness! We have a role to play this Christmas and always. Let us shine like a beacon that Immanuel, God with us, has come, is here, and wants to reign in the hearts of His children. All are welcomed.
May all who seek His peace find their way to His magnificent Light!
Author Bonnie Lyn Smith writes about parenting, marriage, mental health advocacy, special education, faith in the valleys of life, the healing cloak of Jesus, drawing healthy boundaries, relational healing, renewing our minds, walking with a Holy God, and much ado about grace. Join the conversation at Espressos of Faith.
Her book, Not Just on Sundays: Seeking God’s Purpose in Each New Day, offers anecdotes on all of these subjects and Scripture for each situation as well as Book Discussion Questions for deeper exploration.