Be a light

Image   Light is important to us. Those of us who live in the Midwest are reminded of how much we need it during this time of year. The sun sets very early. On so many days, our sunlight is tinged with gray as it seeps through the clouds.
   Light seems to be in short supply.
   All of the festive holiday Christmas lights have been put away, leaving the darkness unchecked. We recently had religious celebrations that involved lighting candles on our menorahs, on our advent wreaths and our dinner tables. Many people celebrated the birth of a Jewish rabbi who urges everyone to be a light to the world.
   Don’t wait for someone else to bring the light. Be the light.
   It’s a challenge that each of us spends a lifetime answering. Do we make our lives primarily about ourselves? Or do we focus more on making life better for others and changing our world in some important ways?
   Do we deepen the darkness, or do we shine a light into it?
   Be a light.
   Do the little things that help us to shine on, to borrow one of John Lennon’s phrases. Smile at a stranger. Be kind toward whoever you meet. Roll down your car window and offer help to the needy person by the side of the road.
   Or, borrowing from Francis of Assisi: Show those who hate what it’s like to love. Heal injury with pardon. Encourage those who are doubting themselves so that they might have their faith restored. Bring hope to those who are feeling despair, joy to those who are feeling sad.
   To those who feel darkness in their life, bring some light.
   Be a light.
   It can be a daunting challenge at times. But remember that all it takes is one small, fixed light in the sky to give sailors a reference point to navigate the dangerous seas and get safely back to port. One small point of light can make all the difference for someone.
   Be that small point of light.
   Also remember that light doesn’t direct or control anyone, it illuminates the world for them. And that’s enough. The beams from a lighthouse allow the ship’s captain to see the rocky shoreline. Some ships will still run aground, even with the light. Many others will take advantage of the light and avoid getting grounded. And they will be thankful for the light.
   Be a light.
   Also, be mindful that there are many people who hate light. Many people want to sleepwalk through their lives, so light isn’t welcomed. Many others embrace darkness because it provides cover for them to take advantage of others, to satisfy their greed and their lust for privilege and power. They do all they can to extinguish the light so they can keep much of the world plunged into darkness.
   Be a light.
   Often, it’s very unpopular. You might feel like a flickering flame, struggling to survive the heavy breath of those trying to extinguish you. In those times, it takes strength and patience and courage to shine on.
   Find the courage. Be a light.
   One of my favorite passages from Genesis is the poetic story of creation. It imagines a scene where God says “Let there be light,“ and light enters into creation and changes it. This business of creating light and spreading light goes on today. It goes on with you and me.
   The world needs an infusion of light.
   Be a light.


Author: joekay617

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