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.

Jesus LOVES the little children!!

It’s back-to-school time, but the only person going back to school is my teacher husband. Our youngest will go back to college for his senior year later this month, but the days are gone when we got THE LIST and spent the day at Wal-Mart, buying pencils, paper, scissors, glue and so much more. As much as I hated it then (I had at least three kids in school at all times) and as expensive as it was, I do miss that time with my kids and their excitement over all the new stuff, new teachers, new friends, new schools.

And while we prepare to send our kids back to school here, I can’t help but think of children elsewhere in our world… Places like Israel and Gaza, where they’re terrified and hungry and school is the last place they want to be because their schools are being bombed. Places like Iraq, where children are being tortured and killed, only because they are being raised Christian. And our own U.S./Mexican border, where kids are coming in droves to flee all the above and so much more, only to be met with hatred they can’t begin to understand. They are children, after all.

Theodore Roosevelt said, “A people without children would face a hopeless future.” So what are we doing to our kids?? I’m thinking of an old song (old because I learned it when I was in high school) called Bless the Beasts and the Children, recorded by The Carpenters (I said it was an old song!)

Bless the beasts and the children
For in this world they have no voice
They have no choice

Bless the beasts and the children
For the world can never be
The world they see

Light their way
When the darkness surrounds them
Give them love
Let it shine all around them

Bless the beasts and the children
Give them shelter from the storm
Keep them safe
Keep them warm

It is obvious to me that, in the world we are living in right now, our children have no voice. They don’t get to pick what they want for dessert… They don’t even get to choose whether to eat or go hungry. They don’t get to decide whether or not they want to be murdered because their parents are trying to raise them to know and love Jesus. They have no choice about getting loaded on a boat or a truck and taken away from all they’ve known in the hope that they’ll stand a chance to survive… Only to be met by outraged privileged people screaming at them to go home.

Generations of us learned the children’s song “Jesus loves the little children. All the children of the world.” We learned that “Jesus loves me, this I know, for The Bible tells me so!” Was it wrong? Was Jesus errant when he said to “suffer the little children to come to me?” Was our Lord out of order when he talked about “the least of these?” I don’t think so. Now is our chance to step up to the plate and make a difference where we are. Fill a shoebox for Operation Christmas Child. Fill a dozen!! Sponsor a child through Compassion International. Volunteer at your local schools. Fill a baby bottle with your spare change for your local Crisis Pregnancy Center.

Whatever you decide to do, pray. Christians in Iraq have asked that we pray for protection, provision, and perseverance. And love your kids and grandkids with everything you have!

The featured image is the Arabic symbol Nun, which the radical group ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq & Syria) is painting on Christian homes as a death mark, similar to the Star of David used by the Nazi regime.

Click here for information on Samaritans Purse and Operation Christmas Child
Click here for information on Compassion International
Click here for information on Crisis Pregnancy Resource Centers