Go Light Your World

Candles and Christmas go hand in hand, don’t they? We burn those jar candles that smell like balsam and fir trees or peppermint and chocolate. We put those electric candles in all our windows through the holiday season. We give them as gifts. I recently saw a sale on Yankee Candles… Five of the large jar candles for $50!! (Lots of folks excited about that one.)

At church, we have an advent wreath with candles to light for each Sunday during the advent season and a big center candle to represent the light of Christ. We use candles in ceremonies like weddings. Our church has a special candle-lighting on Christmas Eve. Everyone has a candle lit and they turn off the electric lights… It’s stunning and beautiful and moving.

I woke up with Chris Rice’s song in my head this morning, Go Light Your World. Here are some of the lyrics, but please click here to listen.

There is a candle in every soul
Some brightly burning, some dark and cold
There is a Spirit who brings a fire
Ignites a candle and makes His home

Frustrated brother, see how he’s tried to
Light his own candle some other way
See now your sister, she’s been robbed and lied to
Still holds a candle without a flame

Carry your candle, run to the darkness
Seek out the helpless, confused and torn
Hold out your candle for all to see it
Take your candle, and go light your world

You know how when the power goes out in a storm, and you light one little candle just to be able to see… That one little candle can light the entire room!!! A little light goes a long way. And one little candle flame lights another and another… The way I see it, our “candle” is our smile. Our hug. That note of encouragement we write. That prayer we send up that he never even knew about. Our gift to the Salvation Army angel tree. The shoebox we packed for Operation Christmas Child. The meal we took to help out a little. The sandwiches we helped make at the soup kitchen. The hand we offer any time, any place. And so. Much. More.

It’s Christmas! Be the hands and feet of Jesus. Go light YOUR world.

Kings and Queens

Personal value

We teach these concepts and try to instill them in our children and grandchildren, but what about the kids out there who don’t have someone telling them how special they are? How important they are? How beautiful, smart, funny, loving, talented… Just because they exist.

The song in my head this morning has me thinking on these things. Audio Adrenaline’s song, Kings and Queens.

Boys become kings, girls will be queens
Wrapped in Your majesty
When we love, when we love the least of these
Then they will be brave and free
Shout Your name in victory
When we love, when we love the least of these
When we love the least of these

As a Christian, I am called to love the least of these. To be the hands and feet of Jesus. Like the song says, “if not us, who will be like Jesus to the least of these?”

I did not grow up feeling like a queen. I was raised in a time when complimenting your child, bragging on them, telling them how good they did or pretty they look may “give them the big head.” That’s southern for making them puffed up and proud. But as a result, I think, I’ve spent much of my life looking for the affirmation that I didn’t receive as a child. Most everything I put my mind to whether it’s relationships, cooking, music, my work, and even Bible study, I do to the best of my ability (most of the time). And mostly so others will notice. Validation. Affirmation. Positive strokes.

BUT, I was so blessed to learn about Jesus from my mom and dad, to grow up serving Jesus in my local church. I don’t have a moment I my life when I didn’t know who He is. He is everything to me. I grew up in a time where my needs were met… Plenty of food, shelter, clean water, clothes, shoes… I didn’t go without. When and how did we get to the place where every school in this country has more than it’s share of children who show up hungry on Monday morning because there was nothing to eat at home on the weekend?

I work on a residential campus where we see kids all winter without a coat or gloves or protective shoes. Every day, kids are pulled out of abusive situations and placed in foster homes, desperate for the baser things we take for granted.

Break our hearts once again
Help us to remember when
We were only children hoping for a friend
Won’t you look around
These are the lives that the world has forgotten
Waiting for doors of our hearts and our homes to open

If not me, then who will be like Jesus to these kids?