Living in the Light
An artist sat at his easel creating a gripping,
powerful painting. Using dark, somber hues,
he drew dreary, empty fields framed by stark,
skeleton-like trees, under a cold, snow-laden sky.
In one corner of the canvas he sketched a
lonely, desolate house, its stark lines fading
into the shadows of the night. Then the artist
paused to contemplate the bleak and
melancholy scene he had created. After a few
moments, he picked up his brush to add a
With a dab of bright yellow paint, he put a
warm, glowing light in the window of the
house. And suddenly, magically, the whole
scene was transformed — that single light
overcame all the darkness and spoke of hope
This story reminds me of the impact the
birth of Jesus made on the world and the
entire history of mankind. As the Apostle John
declared, In Him was life; and the life was the
light of men (John 1:4).
The light in the sky
For 400 years before the birth of Jesus there
had been no new Word from God, no
prophetic voice, no new revelations. Man’s
attempts to control his own destiny had
brought confusion and disaster. The shadows
of sin and hopelessness had settled over the
land of Israel, and the whole world had sunk
into the dismal depths of unbridled sinfulness
Then, with a stroke of God’s hand, He
brightened the landscape of history and gave
hope again to a dreary world. He put a light
in the sky! The star of Christmas lit up the sky
and captured the attention of all men in all
Why a star? Why a light? The Almighty
could just as easily have spoken to mankind as
He did to the shepherds through the choir of
heavenly angels. Why was such a momentous
event as the birth of Jesus marked first by a
light in the sky?
I believe it was because when God flung
back the curtains of heaven and opened His
throne room directly to earth … light poured
through as the Son of God made His entrance
into the world.
The earth was dreary, dark, and lonely. But
with a single stroke, God changed the picture
— He put a light in the window.
The light in the stable
In Rembrandt’s famous painting of the
nativity scene, all the light in the stable is
centered around the Christ child. This is a
fitting depiction, for He is the Source of all light.
It is no accident that the Son of God came
to a stable rather than a palace. He came, not
just to the rich, the privileged, the powerful
alone, but to all men — even the poorest and
Yet, the wealthy were not excluded from
His presence. Those Wise Men who sought
Him were obviously men of means, since they
brought rich gifts of gold and precious spices.
When they sought Him, humbling themselves
to come where He was, they, too, were welcomed.
Jesus said, I am come a light into the world,
that whosoever believeth on me should not abide
in darkness (John 12:46).
The shepherds were the first to arrive on the
scene (see Luke 2:8-20; Matthew 2:11).
Sometime later there came the “kings,” or
magi, from afar. Have you ever wondered why
they all didn’t arrive at the same time to
I’m told there is a prophetic significance to
the timing of those events — that Christ came
to the Jews first, then to the Gentiles.
But all who came to find the Source of light
in the stable were received joyfully.
The light in our hearts
Today there is no single brilliant star
lighting up the sky. Nor do pilgrims to
Bethlehem find a divine light still emanating
from the place where once a rude stable stood.
Where, then, is the light of the world? It
still burns … in the hearts of those who believe
in Jesus Christ and who receive Him as their
Lord and Savior. We are His luminaries in
today’s world. If the people around us are to
see the light of Christ, they must see it in you
We ourselves don’t have the ability to be
lights — but we can be reflectors of the Light.
When we allow Christ’s light to come inside
our hearts, the Holy Spirit, the transformer,
makes us lamps through which the light
God, through the Holy Spirit, transforms
the stable of men’s hearts into the temple of glory!
The same Jesus who said, I am the light of
the world (John 8:12) also says to us, Ye are the
light of the world (Matthew 5:14). And we are
to let our light — His light — shine forth.
He said, If I be lifted up from earth, [I] will
draw all men unto me (John 12:32). As we
allow Christ to be lifted up in our lives, He’ll
do the illuminating. He’ll attract others to Himself.
How often have you met a person who had
such a glow around him that you knew he was
a child of God even before you were
introduced to him? There is a kind of peace
and tranquility, a love that just radiates to
others. And people are drawn to such a person
because it is natural to be drawn to light.
In the neighborhood where Jack and I used
to live, the people on our block all decided to
put out luminaries as decorations at Christmas
time. A luminary is a simple brown paper bag
filled with enough sand to keep it from
blowing away… with a small candle inside.
A single candle didn’t give off much light by
itself, but when the whole street was lined with
these luminaries, the whole neighborhood was
bathed in a soft, beautiful glow!
One of the ongoing themes of this ministry
is “Lighting New Fires of Revival,
Redemption, and Reconciliation” through our
outreaches. And I believe the way to kindle
those anew is to allow the
light of the Lord to shine through each of us.
I’m not talking about the fires of fanaticism
that break out of control and wreak havoc and
destruction wherever they go. Instead, I’m
talking about the glow, that divine light that
softly shines through and combines with the
light shining from other believers about us.
We must be faithful. We must not fail. A
world dying in darkness is looking for the
In the words of the familiar chorus:
This little light of mine,
I’m gonna let it shine,
Let it shine,
Let it shine,
Let it shine!