A Christmas miracle happened—I put up Christmas lights on our new house! It is a miracle (at least to my wife Kathy) in several ways. First, because I have been so busy in ministry, I have not had time to put up Christmas lights. Now that I am “retired” I have more time for the finer things in life.
Second, it is a miracle because when I do put up lights, I do a pitiful job—too few lights, too randomly, too little time and effort, too mixed and mismatched—Kathy was embarrassed. But this year I bought all new lights—all the same kind for a perfect match, put in more time and effort, learned a little more craftsmanship in lighting (still a long ways to go).
Third, it is a miracle because I got them up 2 weeks before Thanksgiving instead of 2 weeks before Christmas. The first in my neighborhood. Some may think I was jumping the gun. But there was a reason.
I had started attending a weekly prayer meeting of 6-12 pastors in our new town. Several of them were sharing about the struggles in their own ministries and churches due mainly because of COVID and the political chaos—depression and pessimism abound. Even pastors of large successful churches were honestly sharing their own struggles and doubts. Two pastors shared how they thought of quitting—not that they would, but questioning their effectiveness and purpose. It is tough being a pastor any time, but especially tough now. We prayed for each other and ministered to each other. I am glad I found this group of pastors who welcomed me with open arms.
I left that meeting wondering what I could do, and the words came to mind, “Be a light in the darkness.” Also to my mind came the thought, “Be a light on your cul-de-sac.” It is very dark on our cul-de-sac at night. I had installed a motion detector light, but it was still dark. Putting up Christmas lights brought light to the darkness in our little corner.
Wherever you are, you can be a light in the darkness around you—a word of kindness or cheer, a kind gesture, a silent prayer for a person in need we see around us. In some little way—a tiny candle brings a ray of light—of hope, of peace, of joy—to someone hurting around us. Joy to the world!