Tuesday, December 12, 2017

5 Ways to Push Back the Dark Around Christmas

Photo image courtesy of Pixabay.com
"You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 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 5:14-16, NIV ~

The world is dark, especially this time of year. Daylight Savings Time only makes the fleeting sun seem less abundant. Long, cold, cloudy days only make life feel heavier. The stress of holiday demands and bad news around the world add to the bleak oppression of winter.

Yet, Jesus calls YOU light. As an ambassador of the Babe of Bethlehem, God is making His appeal to the world through you every bit as much as He did those glorious angels who appeared to the unsuspecting shepherds. (See 2 Corinthians 5:20 & Luke 2:9) That's an enormous responsibility, especially if you're already feeling the weight of the world on your shoulders.

How is a parent raising a child with additional needs supposed to meet that divine expectation of pushing back the darkness at Christmas? God shows us the way...

  1. BE FILLED WITH THE LIGHT — You've heard it a thousand times. You cannot give what you do not have. Only by drawing close to Christ in relationship can you share the Light of Christ with others. Intentionally carving out that first, early part of your morning in prayer and God's word is critical to being filled with His holy light. You must train yourself to hear His voice. Even if it means using a phone app in a hospital room or stealing a few extra minutes as your child naps, connecting to your Source will equip you to push back the darkness around you.
  2. FOLLOW THE SPIRIT'S LEAD — Just as a government ambassador does nothing of his or her own accord, so you must be attuned to what the Holy Spirit is directing. You do nothing of your own power. Face it, as worn parents of high-need children, we have so little to begin with. Yet, if just walk in His light, it naturally pours out where God desires.
  3. RESIST THE DARK — It is way too easy to get sucked into the darkness around us. When circumstances look grim and life is overwhelming, it isn't difficult to succumb to a glum, hopeless attitude. Instead, see yourself as a child of the Light. The victory is already yours! No situation going against you will succeed. (See Isaiah 54:17) You are a winner, so live like one! When things look dark, remember the words, "But God..." This will remind you that there IS a happy end to the story.
  4. SURRENDER YOUR OWN IRRITABILITY TO THE LIGHT-GIVER — Despite our heart's desire to be a light-bearer, our complicated lives can still wear us down. I know that when I am tired, overwhelmed, hungry, and feeling isolated, my own mood can slide quickly. Pausing to take a deep breath and praying for God's intervention helps me get my bearings. Embracing humility and apologizing to those around me when I lose my cool is critical to surrendering my ways for the Lord's better ways. Remembering that the things that irritate me now will not last forever helps me to readjust my perspective. 
  5. LIVE AS A CHILD OF THE LIGHT — Jesus also called himself the "Light of the World." Living with His kindness, compassion, integrity, and decency all reflect that same light. When you want to bite a doctor's head off, instead speak as if that doctor were loved by Jesus... because they are! Give a smile and a friendly word to a cashier or customer service representative at a time where their job is so thankless with grumpy people. Do a random act of kindness by anonymously paying for someone's coffee or letting someone go first in line. One tiny glimpse of light on top of another pushes back the dour frustrations that too easily suffocate so many of us during this season.
Copyright: stockbroker / 123RF Stock Photo
Do everything readily and cheerfully—no bickering, no second-guessing allowed! Go out into the world uncorrupted, a breath of fresh air in this squalid and polluted society. Provide people with a glimpse of good living and of the living God. Carry the light-giving Message into the night so I’ll have good cause to be proud of you on the day that Christ returns. You’ll be living proof that I didn’t go to all this work for nothing.
(Philippians 2:14-16, MSG)

Pray with me...

Holy Spirit, clean house in my heart and make room for me to be filled with Your glorious light. Pour Yourself through me, pushing back the darkness that threatens us in these challenging days around Christmas. 

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