Do Our Decorations Bring Light Upon The One Whom We Celebrate?
Currently at my home we have a lightless Christmas tree standing in our living room. Over the weekend we put together our pre-lit tree and plugged it in to quickly discover a patchwork of bright and dark branches. Thinking that we could fix this problem by simply finding strand that was unplugged, we conceded defeat after just a few minutes. Still considering this to be a manageable problem, we decided the best option was taking off the lights in order to find the bulbs that were burned out in order to replace them. After almost four hours the tree was bare and so were our nerves. Because it was late we decided to return to the lights the next day. When we plugged in strand after strand yesterday, only one strand lit up. Not a single decoration hangs on the tree and our children keep asking when we will get to the decorating of the tree. Even so without the lights the decorations are pointless.
For some of you this account may sound very familiar. Others of you do not know it, but the illustration above could be more familiar than you think. About half the way through our ordeal I began to reflect on the passage John 3:16-21. Most of us know John 3:16 and cherish this verse. A few of us may even know John 3:17 which reminds us that Jesus did not come to condemn the world but to save it. Even so, rarely does anyone know the last portion which points out the hardness of men’s hearts. You see mankind would rather be condemned and in the darkness of their sinfulness than simply repent and place their faith in Christ. The light Christ brings to our life reveals just how our evil works decorate our lives with wretchedness. Verses 3:19-20 says that people actually love the darkness rather than the light because they can continue thinking their evil works are not so bad. As I think about my own experience this weekend I am certain that my hardness and stubborn resolve to solve the problem on my own, is a reminder of the way I chose to live apart from the light of Jesus before I repented and trusted him. Is the same true of you?
As much as we love John 3:16, John 3:21 should be treasured by us as well. John 3:21 is a reminder that we do not work ourselves to salvation, but that our works when lit properly by Christ shine forth the magnificent change in us that God has carried out. So as we enter into this Christmas Season, I want to encourage you to examine your life to see if your works in the light, decorate your life with reminders of what Jesus has done for you. What does your church attendance, your generosity, your love for one another, your willingness to submit to God’s Word, and your witness reveal about the change in you? Particularly this year how will your celebration of Christmas, seeing that it will occur on the Lord’s Day, reveal whom you celebrate? Don’t continue to live in the darkness to avoid seeing what decorates your life. Allow Christ to shine his light on you as he did on Mary, Joseph, Shepherds, and Magi so that today we recognize their faithful works as being a testimony to our great salvation available in Him.