When I studied at Moody Bible Institute in the downtown Chicago, December brought about two battling desires. The first desire was to finish the mountain of papers and finals before me. The second desire was to simply walk around the city, bathing in the bright Christmas décor.
There was nothing I enjoyed more than Chicago on those cold December nights. While the stars were usually absent from the city sky, every December they would come down to rest in the bare trees of the city; the Lincoln Park Zoo would remain open in the evenings to showcase their symphony of lights; the Christkindlmarket in Daley Plaza would be illuminated by a bright, festive tree.
And I wasn’t the only one who enjoyed the lights during this time of year. There’s something about their bright glow that overcomes the natural human inclination to stay warm, driving thousands upon thousands of people to the ice-cold climate of the streets of Chicago. Lights have the amazing power of drawing people by their glow.
More so, Christmas lights can teach us something significant about how to share the good news of the gospel this time of year. In fact, the Bible itself uses lights to describe how we can evangelize people all year round.
Point People to the Light
The story of Christmas is the story of the Light coming into the world. In John’s version of the Christmas story, he uses the word “light” to describe Jesus five different times (John 1:4-5, 7-9). Jesus himself made the great pronouncement, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness but will have the light of life” (John 8:12).
The Light came into the world to show us our sinfulness, but also to reveal the way of salvation, to bring us out of the darkness of sin and death and into his kingdom of light (Colossians 1:13). As Zechariah prophesied in Luke’s Gospel, Jesus came “to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace” (Luke 1:79).
So how do we point people to the true Light during the Christmas season? No doubt, many of us will be visiting with family or friends who don’t know Jesus Christ. As we celebrate Christmas, there are two simple, unobtrusive ways that we can point people to the light of the world.
1. Ask to read the Christmas story out loud.
The Word of God has amazing power in itself, so ask those you are celebrating with if you can read part or all of the Christmas story as found in the Gospel of Luke. It may seem to lead to nothing, but it might also start a great conversation with some of your unbelieving friends and family. At the very least, people will hear why we are truly celebrating this season.
2. Ask to pray.
As you sit down for a meal with friends and family, simply ask to pray in thanksgiving for what we celebrate at Christmas. The prayer doesn’t need to be something profound but something that worships God for sending us a great Savior, something that shows the great joy that you have within you.
Be the Light
Besides pointing people to the Light, which is the most important thing that we can do this season, we can also be the light as we are out and about. As Jesus begins his sermon on the mount, he tells the people, “You are the light of the world…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” (Matthew 5:16). Paul picks up on this as well when he says in Ephesians 5:8, “For at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of the light.”
We are lights to the world insofar as we reflect the character of Jesus. So, in a world where people find this time of year particularly stressful and are apt to complain about the little things, let’s be different than those around us. Let’s not be short-tempered or sharp with people, but let’s show people the grace and love of Jesus. What Paul says in Philippians 2:14-15 may be a helpful verse to memorize, especially during this season:
Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world.
This Christmas season, let’s point people to the great Light of the world, the Savior of all peoples. Let’s also be lights, ourselves, showing the greatness of the character of our Lord by reflecting him to a world that lives in darkness.