The Light of Christmas

 

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“Better to light a candle than curse the darkness.”

What does this mean to you? I love this quote, yet without a light how does it work?

By thirteen, my parents war-zone marriage and divorce left my Mom’s emotions shattered.  I was her primary support.  Burnt out at fifteen, I journaled, “I feel like a candle that has not been lit.”

After I left my religious upbringing, I bumped into a believing neighbor and inhaled the gospels with young people who loved Jesus. “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12 

I read Jesus’ words and they drew me to His light, Biblical truth and insight into behavior from human feelings. “The flesh wars against the spirit and the spirit against the flesh…” Galatians 5:17.

Who doesn’t struggle with the effects of their own and others vices and destructive choices? We have all succumbed to anger or withdrawal and control instead of humility, courage and love. The battle inside wages war—daily actions, rational choices, guided by our limited selfish and torn human nature or by the divine Spirit of a loving, just, and merciful God clarified in the book of Romans.

Drawn to Jesus’ truth, His wisdom and kindness as evidenced in the gospels, as His warnings and insight to deceit and fear, I asked Him into my heart. “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door I will come in…” (Revelations 3:20 NIV)

Peace settled in my mind and spirit, sleep ensued, and I experienced harmony with others closest to me. I woke daily and read my Bible like a first cup of coffee in the morning. I couldn’t start the day without it.

 “For you Lord will light my candle. The Lord my God will lighten my darkness,” a young King David sang in Psalm 18:28 (NKJV)

The music in my soul stirred. With unexpected wonder. I read these words, aware of the new song rising inside me. I met the same Wonderful and wise God to follow into forever, who loved me and everyone in my world with forgiveness, healing and hope. He pierced my darkness and continued to do so. Through the darkest nights, I have always known His light.

Candles bring comfort even in death, as we note at vigils surrounding grief.

As you curse the darkness know there is a Light. He made the stars, including one that shone over His birthplace 2000 years ago—wise men followed that star to find Him.

In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. John 1:4-5

 

 

Let Your Light so Shine Before Men- A Juvenile lives His Faith at the Hall

““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““`December Two years ago Christmas, a Christian mom shared her son's story after he was brought to Juvenile Hall. Newly repentant, he shared Christ in the unit with other incarcerated youth by example, since his return to God. Corrie ten Boom, a Holocaust survivor, said every time she stepped into a prison she prayed, 'Lord make me a light in a dark place.' This young man shed just a little bit of light his brief stay in a very dark place.

"Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father who is in heaven." Matthew 5:16

 

Today a Christian Mom stood talking with us about her sixteen-year-old son, Jake, who is still in Juvenile Hall.  He’s been in now almost  two months.

“He is walking with the Lord again,” she answered my brother, who had visited her son when he was in the lockdown units. Jake was raised a Christian. Now my brother spoke to his mom and questioned her son’s sincerity, parent to parent.

 “When he’s in deception he’s quoting scripture without his heart–but I always know it,” she explained pointing to her eyes. “I can see it in his eyes… because they look dark.”

Then she pointed to her chest.  “And I can feel it inside—something’s not right.” She continued talking about her wayward, now homeward-bound prodigal.

“When he first got in the Hall he used to ask me, 'Why am I going through such persecution when I'm following the Lord now?'. Since his arrest he was reading scripture and the kids knew he was a Christian. He’s pretty verbal about his faith when he’s on,” she spoke proudly.

“But the kids were filling empty orange juice containers with urine and dumping them on his bed when the crew wasn’t watching. Or they’d hit him when the guards weren’t around.   This last week he transferred to another unit. Jake said he was standing in the community room after he arrived and the smallest kid in that unit came up and gave him a punch.”

She smiled as if holding a secret pearl.

“My son is a big boy. He told me he looked at the kid and he said, ‘I admire you for your bravery, you could have picked on someone your size , but you chose someone much bigger. I could pummel you but I won’t , because it is not a nice thing to do. What you did was not nice either. In the future weigh your actions. God bless you’.”

    “I’ve told my son if you follow the Lord he will follow you with signs and wonder working miracles. That young man began to cry, and he even went to the guard and told them what he did… he felt so convicted.”

     Now she grinned widely.  “There was a young Jewish boy sitting on the couch with him who hated God and hated life.”

  “Why didn’t you hit him back?" He asked Jake perplexed.

    Jake  answered, “Because Jesus says to turn the other cheek and I have to follow Jesus.”

  The young man was so impressed, he talked to my son and then… he got saved.

 

Therefore brothers we have an obligation—but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it. For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.   Romans 8:12-14

 

Share hope at Christmas. "Cheesesticks," an amazing story from Juvenile Hall is included under the Pursuit of God section of the book /Bible Study Lord of the Ringless, available to order now online by clicking the blue purchase button top left this home page.