An extension cord, a new fuse, and half an hour later, our tree was once again shining brightly. Ornaments once again catching the ethereal rays of hundreds of small lights. Lights bright enough to dispel the room's darkness. Lights that made me think of the unusually bright star that had appeared in the east, and been a guide to the wise men who were seeking baby Jesus.
I allowed myself to be transported back in time some two thousand years ago. I imagined myself as a wise man arriving in the bustling city of Jerusalem...
How exciting that my fellow travelers and I would actually be allowed an audience with King Herod! We inquired of him, "Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him" (Matthew 2:2; KJV). Unbeknownst to us, King Herod didn't share our enthusiasm for this new king. He was greatly troubled and quickly gathered together the chief priests and scribes, demanding to know when Christ was to be born (Matthew 2:3). "In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet, And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel" came their reply (Matthew 2:5-6).
King Herod appeared fully composed when he called us back into his presence. He seemed extremely interested in knowing when the star had appeared that had led us thus far. He sent us to Bethlehem with the words, "Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also" (Matthew 2:8). Our journey was once again under way.
At dusk, we peered up into the evening sky. What we saw nearly took our breath away. The star. We had seen it in the east, and now it went before us, "till it came and stood over where the young child was" (Matthew 2:9). When we saw the star, we rejoiced with great joy (Matthew 2:10)! But the star was not the object of our worship, it had merely been used of God to lead us to the Christ-child. What a time of worship followed! We presented Jesus with our gifts: gold, frankincense, and myrrh (Matthew 2:11).
God warned us in a dream that we were not to go back and tell King Herod that we had found Jesus. We returned to our country by a different route (Matthew 2:12).
As I continued to gaze at our Christmas tree, I realized the similarity between the Christmas lights and my life as a Christian. Just like that star of old pointed the wise men to Christ, and the lights on my tree illuminate the darkness, I'm meant to 'shine' and point others to Jesus.
In His sermon on the mount, Jesus speaks bluntly to believers, "Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 5:14-16).
Will I take the opportunities placed before me to point others to Christ this Christmas season? Will I embrace Christ's mandate to 'shine' for Him wherever I go? The cry of my heart is echoed in Paul's epistle to the Philippians, "That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; Holding forth the word of life;" (Philippians 2:15-16a).
Will you decide to let your light shine? Hold the 'word of life' out to someone this Christmas season!