Look at that, my friend laughed! What? Over there!
Looking through my windshield into the dark night a man was walking down the street completely wrapped in brightly glowing Christmas lights! He was a miasma of red, blue and green all blinking in syncopation, round and round the lights chasing each other around the man walking around the block with people chasing him and the racing lights.
You couldn’t miss him for anything in that dark night. Now it was a college town we were in at the time so, you see things like that, you know, but, that was a new one.
I can’t help it, but this image brings to mind Jesus’ words to His disciples, then and now, when He told them.
“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.
Now as Christians when we hear this passage and I know as a pastor hearing other pastors preach on this passage, we try all sorts of ways of trying to get out of what this passage is saying to us because it is such a bold and blunt statement. You, yes you. No not only the guy sitting over there, not the Mother Theresas or Billy Grahams of the world, YOU, YOU are the light of the world.
Nope, let’s sidestep that one, Jesus is the Light of the World. Yep, He is. But it is Jesus who is the Light of the World who is saying in no uncertain terms that YOU are the light of the world as well.
How can that be we wonder?! I’m certainly not good enough to be the light of the world, my actions don’t shine bright enough, I’m not Jesus and I don’t like people looking at me!
And all of that is exactly right (except the people looking at me part, I know I don’t but you might like that kind of thing!), there is absolutely nothing that we have done that has earned us or could earn us the title Light of the World. This is something that is only given by the one who is and who was able to earn the title Light of the World, Jesus Christ. This title could only be earned by the one through His Virgin Birth, perfect life, suffering, Death and Resurrection brings light to a world shrouded in thick darkness.
Because Jesus has earned the right to be The Light of the World that also gives Jesus the right to declare and call who He desires to be the Light of the World in this world, that is His people who are redeemed from the darkness by His gracious light and are filled with Jesus’s light.
That means you Christian are wrapped in Christmas lights.
You did not choose this and you didn’t earn this singular distinction but you are chosen to be the Light of the World by the Light of the World, Jesus. Ready or not, you are wrapped in Christmas lights.
The only way I can kind of put this in different terms is when I became a father. I was not ready to be a father and never do quite feel like I’ve got it down, it’s always, always changing and the needs and demands are always different but no matter what kind of job I do at it, I am still and will always be a father.
You, through faith in Jesus Christ are the Light of the World because His light dwells within you. You can freak out, say your not ready, try to pretend that Bible passage doesn’t exist or doesn’t mean what it says, but at the end of the day, Jesus chooses who we are because we are His people and we are who He says we are.
So, you are the Light of the World, you are wrapped in Christmas lights walking around the block. What are you going do?
Well, you’re going to keep walking and taking your light into the darkness.
You’re going to shine your light in the hidden places where hurt lingers and pain steals our breath away.
You’re going to shine your light this Holy Season, when you write on Facebook or whatever else you are writing on by using kind and gracious words and not swearing or fighting.
You are going to wish people a Merry Christmas with a smile on your face and bring an extra meal or two for someone who doesn’t have something to eat.
You are going to be patient if you are waiting in lines at the store and kind to the clerk and not spend all of your money on things that don’t matter, doing so as an example to others.
You will fold your hands in prayer and be in worship on Sunday. You will praise Jesus for all He has done for you, for how He has lightened the darkness of your world with His unending light. You will shine and others will follow your light as you follow the Jesus.
You are the Light of the World. You are wrapped in Christmas lights. Shine.