Christmas Lights

by Marcia Clarke

Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift. 2 Corinthians 9:15 NIV

Sitting alongside the mountains, the cabin windows beamed the radiant glow of burning wood. Bill and Gloria alighted from their car into the brisk wind and scurried into the warmth of the cabin. Gloria made hot chocolate, and they sat quietly reminiscing about how this quiet moment was once just a dream.

They recalled the hardship of losing their business and almost all the possessions they’d worked for. The couple didn’t have a relationship with God; the road to recovery took them through pain, discouragement, and frustration. They had held onto each other, but that proved to be insufficient to overcome the tide of adversity.

Adversity can serve to point us toward God. The Bible speaks of being in the right relationship with God through the Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 3:22). Nurturing the spiritual aspect of our lives prepares us for good times and bad. God’s desire is that everyone will be in a relationship with him, with our eyes continually on him (Psalm 123:1).

In those dark days, Bill and Gloria hadn’t known how to crawl out of their despair and hopelessness. Their outlook on life was dark. They couldn’t think how to restore their joy and hope for brighter days.

Then, in the bright morning sun of Christmas morning, there was a knock on their cabin door. It was their neighbor of many years. Bill invited him in. In his hand was a brown leather book. Bill offered him a drink, and they sat for many hours talking about his relationship with God and his love for us. Light began to invade their darkness.

The neighbor invited them to his ministry, and their lives were never the same. They found meaning for their lives in the Word of God and began to walk in faith. The amazing love of God will plant us in divine places so that we can receive him. For example, Paul was in prison when the prisoners turned their hearts to God (Acts 16).

I have experienced adversity after adversity in my life. Nothing seems to ever go without issues. I struggled with confidence in myself and fear of rejection. While I always read the Bible, I lacked a truly intimate relationship with God. Then one day he announced himself to me, overwhelming my soul. From that day forward I have never looked back. He is my pilot. God reminds us to seek first his kingdom (Matthew 6:33). When we do, darkness is turned to light. We begin to see truth through the lies and hope through the despair.

It’s not too late for you. The Christmas lights we are seeing everywhere are a sign of how much God loved us when he sent his son, the Light of the World, to save us. You can begin where you are. Don’t discount God’s grace, mercy, and love toward you. He is waiting.

Father, thank you for the Christmas lights that remind me of the treasure of being in the right relationship with you. I cherish the moment I give my heart to you and thank you for your presence that is always with me. In Jesus’ name, amen.

This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

About the author: Marcia Clarke is an author who writes daily encouragement for

meditation and spiritual enrichment. Helping people through difficult seasons through her writing is her greatest passion. She has a passion for sharing encouragement and practical devotion through her daily blog on and enjoys the practice of meditation, yoga, and daily affirmation to create balance in her life. She is the author of Journey to Abundance, which has content-rich affirmation for your meditation experience. Marcia most recent book, Thirty Days of Grace is prayer for every season. Visit her at marcia_clarke5.wixsite.com/todayissacred.

Join the conversation. What has God’s light shown you since he rescued you from darkness?

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Let There Be Light

by Julie Zine Coleman @JulieZColeman

...God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all.  1 John 1:5b

A wonderful part of the Christmas season is the plethora of lights on houses, trees, and shining from windows. The Christmas tree in our home glitters with white lights, reflecting off the ornaments and giving the room a festive glow. Light is a very appropriate symbol to be used at Christmas, since the holiday is all about the birth of Jesus Christ, the Light of the World.

God’s glory has been revealed in light since the beginning of time. In His first recorded words, God said, “Let there be light.” With a blinding flash, creation was revealed.   Genesis tells us that the sun, moon, and stars were not created until the fourth day. What was the source of light that lit up the formless, watery creation that existed at that command? Revelation 21 gives us a possible answer when it describes the future New Jerusalem: “And the city has no need of the sun or of the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God has illumined it.” Creation was made to reveal God’s glory. Maybe God’s glory revealed creation as well.

We read of many examples where God’s glory is revealed as light. When Moses spoke with God on Mt. Sinai, his face had to be veiled when he came down the mountain because it shone. God’s presence filled the Holy of Holies in the Tabernacle, revealed with a pillar of fire that glowed throughout 40 years’ worth of nights. At the Transfiguration, Matthew tells us Jesus’ garments became as white as light. The light of God’s glory stunned anyone in Scripture who was privileged enough to experience it.

When the world was new, God’ glory continued to be revealed at the creation of Adam and Eve. Were they reflectors of a literal light? We do know that God made them in his “likeness.” As originally created, they certainly reflected God’s glory. Then came the moment when they submitted to the temptation placed before them by the Prince of Darkness. At the first bite of that forbidden fruit, the light went out. The curse of sin had descended on creation. Adam and Eve looked at each other, saw their nakedness, and for the first time, knew the sting of shame.

The world plunged into darkness. The sun, moon, and stars continued to provide physical light, but the darkness this time was much more crushing. Man was now spiritually blind. It would take a miracle for him to be able to “see” once more.

The people lived in darkness for many years until God once again gave the command: “Let there be light.” This time, instead of a blinding flash of brilliance, the command was fulfilled in the quiet, unseen miracle of the Holy Spirit planting a baby within a young girl. In a dirty animal stall one night in Bethlehem, the light snapped on for the lost. The Light of the World had come to a people who were blind and hopeless.

As he lived here on earth, he lit up the darkness around him. With his glory he exposed the sin of the proud, hard-hearted religious leaders. From place to place he traveled, healing all kinds of sicknesses and even reversing death, freeing fortunate ones of the consequences of living under the curse of darkness. His teachings exposed the darkness of the burden of sin and revealed the glory of God that had come to save.

Those living in darkness hated the Light and finally managed to orchestrate his death sentence. Even the skies went dark that day as the Light of the World hung on a cross, suffering under the unimaginable burden of the sin of the world. At his death, for a short while it seemed the light had been snuffed out and darkness had finally won.

But in a sunburst of glory that first Easter morning, the Light of the World banished the darkness, dealing Satan a fatal blow. No longer would darkness have the victory. Death had lost its sting.

The command continues today: “Let there be light.” Those who seek him are rewarded with the light of spiritual vision when they are given the priceless gift of salvation. Then they, in turn, are charged to be light reflectors to those within their sphere of influence. They bear witness to the truth, endeavoring to live lives of love while guiding others who remain in the darkness to come into the light.

As we string the lights around the tree and place candles in our windows, let us give thanks to the Light of the World whom these lights represent. The glory that is God’s continues to shine in the hearts of those who love him, made possible by his coming to Israel over two thousand years ago, when God said, “Let there be light.”

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Let There Be Light – encouragement from @JulieZColeman on @AriseDailydevo (Click to Tweet)

Julie-Coleman-headshot-295x300About the authorJulie Coleman helps others to understand and know an unexpected God. A popular conference and retreat speaker, she holds an M.A. in biblical studies. Julie is the managing editor for Arise Daily. When she is not glaring at her computer, she spends time with her grandchildren, gardening, or walking her neurotic dog. More on Julie can be found at unexpectedgod.com and Facebook.

Does the Bible depict women as second-class citizens of the Kingdom? Jesus didn’t think so. Unexpected Love takes a look at the encounters that Jesus had with women in the gospels. You will fall in love with the dynamic, beautiful, and unexpectedly personal Jesus.

Join the conversation: Is there another symbol present at Christmastime that reminds you of spiritual truth?