But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people, that you may declare the wonderful deeds of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. (1 Peter 2:9)
My granddaughter, when she was a little girl, used to go walking with me through neighborhoods in our little town, looking for houses that are alive.
Perhaps you know what I mean. Typically, up and down street after street, homes look so dead these days. Some are run-down and some are immaculate and showy, but so many are lifeless. We walk up one street and down the next, sometimes for an hour or more, looking for homes that say, “Come in! Welcome! People live here – real living breathing people – and there’s life inside!”
What makes a home look alive? Virtually every time, almost without exception, it is the presence of light. A lamp on a table in front of the living room window. A ceiling light, a small chandelier, visible through the front rooms, sparkling over the dining table behind. A porch light left on, solar lamps lining the front walk … something … anything glowing.
I once took a bus trip across country, and out of a dense, dark fog, just as the sun had dipped below the horizon, we rolled into a little town in Ohio. It was a hamlet, really, but every home we passed had a candle in every window. I sat up. I rubbed my eyes. Had I died and gone to Greyhound heaven? I could scarcely believe what I was seeing. The night would have been dreary and almost eerie, but for the candle glow in those hundreds of windows. The bus made a quick stop and took off again, and I wondered where I was and what was the secret of the lighted windows.
Far from dreary, it was a magical sight. I later learned that many small towns back east do the same, that it speaks of a day and time when houses were far apart and farmers made sure that lost or lonely travelers could find a safe place to shelter in the night.
Today’s Advent consideration sparkles before us. A light in each window would be a lovely tradition during this season, but light in our eyes, the windows to our souls, will make people sit up and look again. If we are full of peace and goodwill and truth, if our hearts are warmed and glowing with the love of God, those we meet will rub their eyes and wonder where they are and wish they were in on the secret.
There is not enough darkness in all the world to put out the light of even one small candle” – Robert Alden
Father, in Your light we see light, and we ask that the love invested in us might light a path to peace, to mercy, to truth, and happiness for others this Advent season. We know we will have to exchange agitation and heaviness for joy and loving kindness, and what a trade-off that will be! Shine, Lord, in us!