There is an old Chinese tradition to let go of a paper lantern at the end of the Chinese New Year celebration. It’s called the Shangyuan Festival and the lanterns can symbolize letting go of your past self. You may have seen pictures of a night’s sky with thousands of lit lanterns floating toward it. It’s an impressive sight.
“Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” ~ Matthew 5:15-17
This festival reminds me of God’s call on our lives to be a light in this world to others. Scripture tells us that we should not place our lights under a bushel, but rather to let it shine before others around us. It seems to me that this has become so important in our uncertain world. Just this year, we were witness to destructive hurricanes and earthquakes. We learned about yet another mass shooting. And we are keenly aware of the places on our beautiful world that are living daily with war, poverty, hunger and disease.
God needs us now more than ever.
These past few weeks in Advent and on Christmas Day we blogged about Peace, Faith, Love, Hope and Joy. Can we take those lessons and live in 2018 with our light of Christ shining into the dark corners? Can we take God’s promise of salvation and forgiveness, and let it shine into the hearts of those who need to hear it most?
I pray that we can and we will.
Let us make 2018 the year in which we let the light of God’s love shine daily to share the Good News in which we believe: God loves us, and has sent His only Son so that we may be forgiven. How do you shine your light? Maybe you provide a listening ear to someone who needs support. Maybe you pray with those in need. Maybe you smile at the sad person in front of you at the check-out counter. Maybe you plate hot meals at a soup kitchen. Maybe you visit with the sick. The possibilities are endless.
How will you shine your light in 2018?