Whilst visiting our daughter in New Zealand for Christmas we went to a carol service hosted by a local church and held at the biggest events arena in the Auckland. We were amazed as people poured in through the doors, and eventually the whole building was full - with, literally, ten thousand people attending! Each person had been given a ’glow stick’ on arrival (in a variety of different colours) and we were asked not to light them until a signal was given.
As the church leader stood up to open the service, all the lights went out, except the spotlights at the front. Then, as the huge venue fell into darkness we were given the ok to light our glow sticks! A loud ‘Wow!’ echoed all around the building - we couldn’t see one another - we couldn’t see anything - but we suddenly saw ten thousand brightly glowing lights of all the colours of the rainbow shining out and dancing above us, below us, in every direction we looked, in the darkness of the huge arena!
All that represented any one person for the next hour was the colourful light shining out from the glow stick they were holding and waving to the beat of the music, and their joyful voice as we joined together in singing carols, worshipping the King of kings. It was such a profound picture of how God sees each one of us as precious and beautiful, yet once lost in darkness, and how He sent Jesus, and as we have received Him in our hearts, He has brought the light of His Holy Spirit into our lives, and we now have the potential to shine beautifully for Him, giving glory back to our Saviour.
At the carol service, holding our glow sticks in the darkness and singing, ‘O come let us adore Him’, our spirits were soaring, our lights were shining and dancing, and we truly were giving glory back to Him, both individually and corporately as such a big group of people gathered together.
The challenge, I began to realise, though, is not in an event such as this, but in how I live my life today! Will others see the beautiful, bright light of Jesus shining out from me today in the darkness of the world, or will it be dulled by my own selfish ways? Will they see patience and kindness or impatience and hostility? When I am pressured will they see His grace or my irritability? Will they hear me criticising others or advertising the best in them? Will they see me putting my own needs first or preferring the needs of others? Will they see His love in me today?
Oh, how I need His grace! If I try in my own strength I will fail, but by the power of His Spirit and by His grace, His Light will shine out in the darkness.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You so much that You didn’t wait for me to clean up my act to come and rescue me, but You saw me as beautiful, precious and valuable, even in the mess I was in. You believed I was worth coming down to earth and dying on a cross for. Please help me not to forget the lengths You have gone to to rescue me, and help me to truly seek to honour You with my life. Please help me to yield to Your Spirit, to enable me to so live my life that Your Light shines out from me to others, that they might find the real hope that I have found in You, and that my life might give glory back to You.
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