“For at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light.” Eph. 5:8
Ten months after graduating from high school I joined the U.S. Air Force with my childhood buddy. After basic training and tech school completion at Lackland AFB in San Antonio and Keesler AFB in Biloxi, Mississippi, I was on my way to an overseas assignment in Formosa, now known as Taiwan. In December of 1958, I was winging my way halfway across the world. I will never, ever forget the cold, rainy night in December when I arrived in Taipei, throwing gear over the muddy, wet tailgate of a covered “six-by”, and then climbing in besides the gear, awaiting the trip up “the mountain” to our duty station.
Culture shock…all of these strange-looking people busily walking down the streets wearing strange clothing; some of the men had stringy beards stretching down to their waist. People walking, riding or pumping pedicabs and bicycles clogged the street. Strange smells permeated the area. I think most of the smells were emanating from people cooking their evening dinners, but some of it could have come from Taipei sewage. This was Taipei in 1958.
Another part of my introduction to Chinese culture was that these people were not celebrating Christmas. Our Air Station was situated adjacent to a major Chinese Nationalist new army recruit training base. Oriental music, not Christmas Carols, was being broadcast over loud speakers to their troops. It was not one of my favorite Christmases.
Despite all the festive holiday gatherings and gaily colored lights, many people have experienced things in the past year that prevents them from truly being able to celebrate the season.
Be a light to others, whether that light be a spotlight or gaily colored Christmas bulbs. Uncover God’s light, his love and help others who are really having a hard time seeing it.
Fellowship— This is not difficult, and kindness, really, makes its own light. “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.” 1 John 1:7
From now until the New Year, make a point to lighten the load a bit for people you meet who are carrying a heavy one. Buy someone’s coffee for them tomorrow at the gas station. Send flowers to your neighbor who is having a rough time. Think about what lights you up, and then get on out there and do it for someone.
I like the analogy that one of my favorite writers uses. “It’s like cutting wood. Warms you twice, and you get the bonus of firelight in the eyes of those who gather ‘round.”
Heavenly Father, thank you for the events that have helped shaped our lives. Some may not have been the greatest, especially when they have occurred during the Holiday Season. But we know the sadness that creeps in is not of Your design. “The Lord reigns, let the earth be glad; let the distant shores rejoice.” Psalm 97:1 Holy Spirit, help me be a light to those who are experiencing darkness in their world now. Holy Spirit, point out those who need to remember your love for them, maybe even accept “the blood of Jesus, … who purifies us from all sin.”