This Christmas season, I’ve found myself with two repeating themes in my prayers. First, I’ve often that we would all encounter Jesus in some new way this Christmas and, second, I’ve prayed for those for whom the holiday is a difficult time. This might be from loneliness, or the grief of having lost a loved one, or a broken relationship.
So I find the Collect for the first Sunday after Christmas to be an encouragement:
Almighty God, you have poured upon us the new light of your incarnate Word: Grant that this light, enkindled in our hearts, may shine forth in our lives; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
The connection may not seem immediately obvious, but the answer to both the prayers I ahve been praying is that the light of Jesus would shine through us. Could there be a better way to encounter Jesus anew than to have his light shining through us?
We encounter Jesus most tangibly not just in private experience, but when we allow Him to work through us. If you want to encounter Jesus in a new way, don’t just sit in the prayer closet — that’s a great place to start, but if it ends there we’re missing something. Instead, get out in service. Love someone who needs some love. Reach out to a family member you know is alone and lonely. Volunteer an extra shift at Daily Bread, or some other ministry. Get out of your comfort zone and do something new for Jesus!
And for those who struggle at the holiday time, what could be more encouraging than to know that Jesus comes to shine through you? Don’t sit and wait to suddenly feel better. Get up, and get out in service. This is one place where the old saying “fake it ’til you make it” really does work. Nothing snaps us out of the blues more effectively than being a beacon of Jesus love in the life of another!
The key here is, don’t wait for the light of Jesus to shine in your, let it shine through you and you’ll find the light in a new and exciting way!
This column appeared in the December 30, 2018 edition of St. John’s eNews. Click here for the complete issue.
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