The longest-night and the shortest day of each year is the Winter Solstice. It occurs December 21st in the United States and June 21st in my homeland of Australia. This year sunrise will be at 7:17 am and sunset will be at 4:32 pm. That’s a short day and a lot of darkness. Sometimes our lives can feel like they are stuck in the Winter Solstice. Light can be hard to find, and the darkness can seem all consuming.
Sometimes a culture can enter a season like that. I suspect we are entering such a season now, and that it will get a lot darker before the sun rises on something new.
There is plenty of darkness in this world. It seems to get closer every day. There were times in my life when it felt a lot further away.
The question is: What are we going to do about it?
Life is choices, and we always have options. But some are always better than others, and one is usually best.
This is a quote I have always found settling when the darkness seems overwhelming. “It is better to light a candle than you to curse the darkness.” The quote has been attributed to Eleanor Roosevelt, Confucius, John F. Kennedy, Francis of Assisi, and many others. What matters more is how we apply it to our lives.
How we decide to deal with the darkness in our lives, in the world, and in our own souls is a life defining decision.
Now let’s take a look at today’s difficult teaching and see what Jesus has to say on the matter.
“Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”
It is from Matthew’s Gospel, chapter 5, verse 6.
This was my school motto from grade 4 through grade 12. In Latin, Luceat Lux Vestra. Let your light shine. Barely a day passes when I don’t hear this phrase in my head. Let your light shine. For those nine years of school we were constantly encouraged and challenged to prepare ourselves to go out into the world and let our light shine.
The world can seem dark and negative at times. But as Christians, Jesus invites us to be a light in the darkness. In a world where so many people believe that the darkness cannot be overcome, we are called to remind people that throughout history there have been horrific disasters, tyrants, wars, and tragedies, but the ways of goodness and love cannot be extinguished. They live on in you and me.
It's easy to give into negativity and let the darkness swallow a conversation, an afternoon or evening, a day, a week, but we are called to be people of hope and possibility.
Jesus says to us, “You are the light of the world.” Jesus says to us, “Let your light shine.”
You possess and incredible power. It is the light of Christ alive within you. But are you sharing it with the world? And why is this light within you so powerful? Because darkness cannot stand light. It only takes a tiny ray of light to destroy a whole bunch of darkness.
“Let your light shine.”
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