We are beginning the new year of 2022. Many folks are trying to begin their new year rebuilding homes that were destroyed by storms and fires. Many folks are moving forward with losses in their families from COVID, violence, and fears of what may happen in this new year. The request of shining your light to others may seem foreign at this time. However, if one looks around, there are so many lights shining in our country and around the world. Jesus is this light and we are asked to share it. I have shared this theme before but feel we need to be reminded that it is not time to give up or give in to all the negative that we hear. When I was a little girl, I remember learning the song “This Little Light of Mine”. Do you remember the words? This little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine, let it shine, let it shine. Won’t let Satan blow it out, I’m going to let it shine. Hide it under a bushel, no, I’m going to let it shine. Let it shine till Jesus comes, I’m going to let it shine. We even added another verse…. Shine all over Buckhannon, I’m going to let it shine. What did we mean when we sang that song? What meaning does that song have today?
We all know that Jesus is the light of the world. He is with us every day, every hour, every minute of our lives. He is the light to guide us in everything we do. If Jesus is our light into the world, how can we take His light and shine it everywhere we go? All we need to do is look around us. Jesus’ light is shining through so many people in so many ways. There are kind- hearted acts that take place every minute of every hour each day all over the world. We see these acts and sometimes we ask why they are done, how they are done and who does them. Jesus’ light is passed to anyone who wants to follow Him. Jesus was a teacher, preacher and healer. Jesus was kind and always made others feel welcomed and loved. He used simple stories to help people understand His messages. He sent His disciples out to shine His light to others. Jesus gives us opportunities to shine His Light and to share His love with others.
I looked up the word light. The first meaning tells us that light is the form of radiant energy that stimulates the organs of sight. Light is an emission of brightness from a particular source or direction. Light can be a mental or spiritual understanding or insight. Light can also mean to work swiftly and skillfully. My favorite is that light is a guide in darkness. This light is needed in today’s world.
There are so many ways to shine our light in this world of darkness. If we watch the news, we see many problems with drugs, shootings, abuse, fires, flooding, friction in our political scene, many who are in need and for friends and neighbors who are hurting from broken homes, illness and loneliness. The light we shine to others can bring a stronger light back into our lives.
How can we shine our lights and make a difference in the world around us? We often share by giving donations to various help agencies. Find out what these agencies are doing and see where you might use your talents and gifts to become involved. If you look in the paper you will find many ways to support those who are in need with bake sales, dinners, book sales, etc. Check out the Parish House, Salvation Army, church events, community events and you will find the need for volunteers. Check out your neighborhood and visit and assist those who cannot get out and shop or visit. Loneliness is something everyone goes through at some time in their lives. Call or write to a friend. Not all friends use computers and texting. They want to see your face and hear your voice. A card is very much appreciated.
Shine your light when you go out to shop, to a game, to church and in your community. Shine your light with a smile at the folks you meet in the stores and restaurants. Masks do not show our smiles so say hello or have a nice day. Send cards to those who are ill or have lost a loved one. These are simple ways to make a difference in someone’s day. Get involved in a book club, Bible study, the Senior Center, take a dance class or do exercise with others. You might be surprised how much better you feel when you find common interests with others.
I am impressed with the various groups who shine their lights within our community and around the state. Sometimes these groups make a real difference in lives all over the world. Many of our local folks volunteer to build houses, help with children who need rides to the hospital, who take food to those in need and help teach others how to read. These are special gifts from those who want to shine their lights and make a difference in the lives of others. Everyone has a special gift and talent to share with others. Kindness is a special way to shine your light. This world needs to spread kindness instead of hate. One never knows when a kind word, a hug or a smile can make a difference. These acts are a shining light in the darkness.
Positive thinking can make a huge difference when deciding how to shine your light to others. Believe in yourself. Expect the best in what you want your light to do. Do not expect or accept defeat. Reject all ill feeling toward others. Break the worry habit. With the negatives in today’s world, have a positive attitude. To make your life better and brighter, begin each morning with a little talk with Jesus. Thank Him for each new day and ask Him how you can shine His light to others. Make this new year a year of love, forgiveness and HOPE for the future.
If you have some free time or want to become active in your community, your church, or the town you live in, call a friend who is a volunteer and find out how to get involved. If you are lonely and want to find a way to fill that void in your life, step out and find a group to join that brings you joy and companionship. John Kennedy said, “We must find time to stop and thank the people who make a difference in our lives.” This is true. Sometimes the thank you can be an extra pair of hands to work on a project to help others. Remember this, “Always remember you are braver than you believe; Stronger than you seem; Smarter than you think and more than you know.” You have a special talent and gift to share. Maya Angelou said, “Try to be a rainbow in someone’s cloud.” Princess Diana said, “Carry out a random act of kindness with no expectation of reward, safe in the knowledge that one day someone might do the same for you.” Love looks not with the eyes but with the heart.
God gives every person the power of a story to tell. As we share our stories, let our stories be the lights to shine for others. Each of us has a purpose in this world and each of us can be creative with our gifts and talents. With creation comes faith, excitement, goals, originality, interest, commitment, a plan of action and the willingness to lead in the production of our creations. The most successful creations are completed with teamwork. A good leader will find the most talented and committed folks to be a part of the creative team. God gives us the gifts to use and Jesus shines the light for us to use to bring light to those around us. Take your light and shine where you feel you can make a difference and see that light come back to you with joy and fulfillment knowing you made a difference in the lives of others.
I shall end with this quote which I have used before. When you think of Helen Keller who was blind, deaf and could not speak, it is very special that she made this statement. “I am only one, but still, I am one; I cannot do everything, but I can do something; I will not refuse to do the something I can do.” So, let Jesus’s light shine through us beginning today.