16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.
On my drive home from work the other night I noticed that most of the Christmas lights have already gone out, and many trees have been stripped of their lights and ornaments and placed (not without some reverence) at curbsides and along the back alleys.
The harsh realities of January in the northeastern United States are starting to sink-in, as the bleakness and cold of winter can make the warmth and light of the holidays seem so far away…so very quickly!
I think this is why so many feel a let-down after the holidays: due to the dramatic difference between December and January! Although the days are actually getting longer, it can feel darker as the holiday lights are put away, the festivities and vacations end, and life returns to ‘normal’.
While for some the return to normal is a welcome relief after the busy-ness of the Christmas season, it can still be a difficult adjustment to make, especially when trying to manage schedules for ourselves and our children, from having to deal with weather related issues, to more serious family and financial challenges (some maybe stemming from the aftermath of the holidays). As the new year begins to move forward and we continue to struggle it can also feel as if God is not paying attention to us…or that we are not getting many breaks…and we wonder where our blessings are.
This sort of thinking can make our days seem very dark indeed…
It is during these days when the faith and love with share with our children, family and friends is so important…as it is together that we can seek out the little sparks of happiness in life that can burn through the darkness and make all things brighter!
These sparks can come to us in simple ways: a smile from our child (even the ‘grown-up’ ones), a kind word, the support of someone who understands, unexpected sunshine on winter’s day, knowing our children are safe (even if not always sound), or just experiencing a moment of gratitude for having been given the strength to take on the challenges of being a single parent, and for the great moments of joy that we have found while growing up with them!
There are many things that can brighten our days during this winter season…even those that seem very dark…sometime we have to look for them…but at other times we just have to pause and let them wash over us!
As followers of Christ we know that the light of God’s love is always with us, as that we carry that light always, and it can help us remember that this light which shines so brightly in the darkness at Christmas, is the same light that greets the open tomb on Easter!
By letting the light of our faith in Christ shine before others, WE can be the sparks of happiness for those feeling overwhelmed by stress and worry, a reminder that it is never God’s Will for us or our children to know fear or pain, but that like any good parent all God wants for us is to be happy, joyous and free!!
For it only takes a few sparks to start a fire…not a fire that destroys, but one that warms, and give hope and light to even the darkest of days, and brings the kingdom of God closer to becoming a reality in our midst.
Let us Pray:
God, thank you for giving us the gift of Christ, who is the light of the world now and always! Thank you for making us part of that light by adopting us as your well-loved children! Please help us to seek out the sparks of happiness in our lives when our own days feel dark and cold; for these sparks can refresh our faith and hope. Once renewed, let the light of our faith shine before others…so that we can be a spark of happiness to others in need of warmth and light…remembering that it only takes a few sparks to light a fire that has the power to brighten our world, and bring your kingdom every closer to a reality, right where we are!