By Jason Crosby
Matthew 5:14-16 You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.
When you have small children, sometimes you just have to get out of the house. A few years ago following a December weeknight dinner, the Crosby family needed to do just that. We decided that night to drive around our neighborhood to check out the Christmas lights. We slowly wound our way through the streets enjoying the familiar displays – lights wrapped around trees and strung along rooflines, glowing Santas and reindeer, wreaths, and nativity sets. As we turned onto another street, we saw something unusual up in the distance. A fire truck seemed to be parked up ahead. Its lights brightly spun. People were gathered around it. “Uh-oh,” we told one another. “I’m afraid a home is on fire.” We drove closer to investigate the matter. As we neared, we did not see or smell any smoke. The look on people’s faces was not one of concern, but of delight. “What is going on here?” we wondered. “Look on top of the fire truck,” my wife said. Lo and behold, atop the truck stood Santa, smiling and waving.
We are living in a heated moment. Our national discourse is fiery. Many of us are feeling burned by hateful comments and acts. Our natural impulse to “fight fire with fire.” There are times when we must turn up the heat. However, we must be cautious not to let the fire that burns within us become so heated that we burn ourselves. As Shakespeare put it, “Heat not a furnace for your foe so hot that it do singe yourself.”
In these days, when it is so easy for the flames within us to become overheated, may we continue to do good deeds that provide light in our world. May we speak out boldly for love and justice for all people in dignified, appropriate ways, as well as concentrate on doinggood to all people. May we not just give off heat, but bring forth light that will lead us toward a brighter tomorrow. That December night we feared that we would see a burning hot fire destroying someone’s home. What we ended up seeing was bright light and Santa Claus, which made us smile from ear to ear. Don’t forget the power of light.
Thank you, O Lord, that you have blessed us with the opportunity to let our lights shine through our deeds of goodness. Amen.