When Christmas Lights Beckon Us

Homes, businesses, churches, trees, fireplace mantles, staircase railings, city parks and light poles.  These are just a few of the places and items that you will find adorned with lights during the month of December.  White ones and brightly colored ones, tiny ones and the big vintage ones from our childhood. Twinkling or not.  All one color or multi colored.  We all seem to love Christmas lights.

Those lights, they beckon us don’t they?  Our eyes are drawn to those lights.  We drive around our towns to see the lights at Christmas time.  We may even travel a fair distance to take in an extra special display of these lights.  They persuade us to linger. They slow down our driving.  They invite us to pause our hurried schedule.   The lights are almost always successful in their purpose.  We do linger, we do pause our hurried schedule, our eyes take in their sparkly beauty.

It could be later that night, or a week down the road and those Christmas lights do it again.  They will beckon you.  

Your day has been long.  Nothing has gone right.  Supper has been made and cleaned up.  Piles of laundry have been washed but stare you down, waiting to be folded and put away.  Helping the kids with their homework has been conquered, but not without some battle scars.  Baths have been given and the kids have been tucked into bed, FINALLY!   You wrap a couple of presents.  You pay some bills and pack lunches for tomorrow. You pull the least wrinkled clothes out of the laundry pile and hunt down everyones shoes.  Its a preventative measure, hoping to limit the meltdowns  the next morning.  You are tired.  To the bone tired.  As you start getting ready for bed, you begin turning off the 25 lights that the kids left on all over the house.  Christmas lights and a few candles are the only lights that remain.  The Christmas lights get your attention again. You push back the urge to just go to bed.  You notice that your physical space has been transformed.  It is different than it was just 5 minutes ago.  You sit in the stillness and enjoy the quiet and the glow of the lights for a little bit before exhaustion calls your name again and you unplug the lights and go to bed.  

Christmas lights ARE great.  They transform our neighborhoods, city parks and light poles, and even our living rooms at the end of a long day.   Christmas lights ARE awesome……. but also temporary.  They beckon our EYES.  Once they are taken down and packed away, they no longer have the ability to make us stop and linger.  They can no longer call us to pause our hurried, hectic lives. The peace, calm and even excitement they once brought has been stuffed in a box and placed in the attic.


This better Light doesn’t just transform your physical surroundings.  This better Light that beckons you has the ability to transform your heart, your life, and your eternal home. This Light truly transforms neighborhoods, families, communities.  The Light that pursues you is not a temporary light.  This Light isn’t seasonal.  It can never be packed away and stuffed in the attic.  NEVER.  This Light has overcome darkness FOREVER!   The Light shines in the darkness and has OVERCOME IT!  John 1:5


The light of Jesus will call you to linger with Him.  He invites us to slow down and pause our hurried schedule.   Accept His invitation.  Give in and sit in the stillness.  Open your Bible and find the light of truth in His word.  You will notice that your heart is being transformed.  It is different than it was just 5 minutes ago.  Calm.  Peaceful.  You will want to linger.  If our hearts are willing, He will always be successful in His purpose, that we might find the calm and peace and joy that only He can offer.  Transformation WILL happen.  We will not want to leave His presence.  Gratitude and blessings replace the frustrations and stresses that were on our mind just a short time ago. You will want to just stay and stare at His light.  

When, if only for a while, the only thing you focus on is Jesus, the stress of the day that has already been and the things still waiting to be done, fade away.  Our perspective changes in the LIGHT of His glory and in the PEACE of His presence.

Do you feel it?  That tug that won’t go away.  He is pursuing your heart with a fierceness and love that you can’t wrap your head around or begin to understand.  There are things in this world that look bright and shiny and attractive.  They seem to beckon our eyes. Do you find that the appeal of those things flicker out after awhile?  Do they lose their their attractiveness?  That’s because they are a false light.  Jesus has real light waiting for you.  


When Jesus spoke again to the people, He said “I am the Light of the world.  Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the LIGHT OF LIFE.”  John 8:12

Jesus Christ is knocking at the door of your heart! Do you hear Him knocking?  Answer the door!  Don’t hide in the living room hoping He will go away.  Don’t tell yourself you are too busy for company right now.  And never, ever, ever think it is too messy to let Him in.  You never have to clean things up before you invite Him inside. He is beckoning you into a relationship with Him.  He wants to give you His light.  He wants to give you eternal LIFE.  Remember how the Christmas lights beckoned your eyes and transformed your physical space?   Jesus wants to transform your heart and stimulate your eyes, allowing you to see all things through HIS eyes.  He wants to hand you a new pair of glasses!  

My heart longs and aches for you to know Jesus and have His transforming LIGHT!  I pray that as you sit in the quiet and stillness of your Christmas lights, you will reach for the hand that is the Light of the World.  He is reaching for YOU!  

The transformation that will take place in your heart will be exceedingly more beautiful than the most glorious display of Christmas lights you have ever seen.  

I hope you never look at Christmas lights quite the same!  Next year when you hang your Christmas lights, I hope they are more than just a Christmas decoration.  I hope they are a reflection of the light of Jesus that lives inside of you!  To God be the glory!

If you would like to spend some time in God’s word, I have listed some scripture verses below that talk about His life giving light.

Matthew 4:12-17     Isaiah 9:1-3       Matthew 5:14-16      Psalm 119:105     John 1:5          John 8:12     1 Peter 2:9       Ecclesiastes 2:13










The Excitement and Wonder of it All

When my husband and I were raising our children, we were not born again believers. We were not disciples of Christ.  We were not seeking to follow Him.  We were not seeking to learn from His word.  That has changed!  Now, only by His grace, that has all changed.  I have been changed and my husband has been changed.  As God’s word tells us, we have been transformed, a new creature!

As the excitement and wonder of Christmas is in full throttle for most of us, I reflect on how we did Christmas with our children.  If I were to raise children again, because I have been changed and transformed by Christ, our Christmas season would be changed and transformed as well.  It would look different now than it did all those years ago!

We’ve always known Christmas was about the birth of Jesus.  We told our children it was all about Jesus.  We were regular church attenders and our children went to Sunday school, so the birth of Christ was not some far off, foreign concept to us.   We SAID Christmas was all about Jesus.  We told our children that Christmas was all about Jesus, but all the activities that occupied our time and energy and left us stressed and utterly exhausted, had almost nothing to do with Jesus.  

I can remember so well, the list of things to do.  The expectations that other people placed on me.  The expectations I placed on myself.  It all left me drained.  Completely drained.  Stressed.  Overwhelmed.   Trying to please everyone and strained family relationships.  Wishing it would just be over.  

If our Christmas celebration was a varsity team, Jesus didn’t make the cut.  

Our varsity team players, in no particular order were:  Christmas trees, lights, ornaments, decorations, santa, visiting santa, writing santa letters, baking, shopping, manipulating our children to ask santa for a toy that we could find and afford.  Oh how shopping for the “hot toy of the season” can suck the life right out of you.  Christmas cards, more baking, wrapping, finding stocking stuffers, more shopping, financial distress.  Coaching the kids once again to ask for toy “B” instead of toy “A” because santa was going to run out of toy “A.”  More shopping, wrapping, baking, late nights.  Christmas cards start arriving in the mail and I haven’t even started mine.  More late nights.   More of meeting those expectations.   Joy…gone.  Peace…gone.  The most wonderful time of the year?  No it wasn’t.  My heart ached for something more!   

I now know the reason my heart ached.  I know the reason I was overwhelmed, exhausted and stressed.  It was because Jesus was an afterthought in all of this Christmas hubbub!  As these varsity players stood in the limelight of Christmas, Jesus sat quietly on the sidelines, patiently waiting to be noticed.  

Instead of staying up late wrapping presents, I needed to be spending time wrapped in His presence!  It is in the stillness and quiet that we hear Him whisper our name.

So, what would I change?  What would I do different?  With all the things the world has come up with to put Jesus on the sidelines of Christmas, HOW, OH HOW do we divert all the excitement and wonder of Christmas back to Jesus?  If I had the chance to raise my children again, here is how I would do Christmas differently.

As parents, the way we spend our time and energy preparing for Christmas, the things that take priority on our to-do list of Christmas activities must be Christ centered.  IT MUST BE!  Otherwise our actions speak louder than our words and what our children SEE us doing will make more of an impact than what we SAY about Christmas.  Are decorations, baking, lights, trees, shopping, Christmas cards and visits to santa wrong? NO!  They are not.  I’m not a fun hater.   BUT, they must to be on the JV team.  They must come 2nd, or 3rd or 4th.  

I would teach my children that the most exciting, astonishing, magical, awe inspiring, full of wonder, joy bringing event of Christmas, is the birth of a baby.  Not santa and the north pole.  Instead of writing letters to santa asking for gifts, we would write letters to Jesus. We would ask Him to give us the gifts (or fruits) of the Spirit and I would teach my children about those gifts.  I would build a small manager and place it in our home.  Instead of teaching my children to excitedly wait for santa to come and fill the emptiness under our Christmas tree, I would teach my children to excitedly await a baby to fill that empty manger.  

On Christmas Eve, instead of reading The Night Before Christmas, I would read Luke 2: 1-18.  We would linger over the AWE and WONDER of an Angel of the Lord appearing to the shepherds and how afraid they were.  With great excitement and joy I would emphasis verse 10-14.  But the angel reassured them, “don’t be afraid!” he said.  “I BRING YOU GOOD NEWS THAT WILL BRING GREAT JOY TO ALL PEOPLE.  THE SAVIOR – YES, THE MESSIAH, THE LORD HAS BEEN BORN TODAY IN BETHLEHEM, THE CITY OF DAVID!  AND YOU WILL RECOGNIZE HIM BY THIS SIGN:  YOU WILL FIND A BABY WRAPPED IN STRIPS OF CLOTH, LYING IN A MANGER.”  I would explain to them that immediately after the angel spoke these words, lots and lots of angels broke out in praise, saying “GLORY TO GOD IN THE HIGHEST AND PEACE ON EARTH WITH WHOM GOD IS PLEASED.”  We would break out in our own version of praise to God with singing, dancing and jumping and clapping.  

I would explain to them how the shepherds hurried, with great urgency to Bethlehem to see if what the angel had told them was true.  I would teach them to get up Christmas morning and rush downstairs to see if the baby had come, just liked the shepherds rushed to Bethlehem.   Was the manger now filled with the greatest gift imaginable? 

I would read them Matthew 2 and talk about the brightest start in the sky that led the wise men to baby Jesus.  The Star of Bethlehem.  Then, instead of searching the sky for santa and his reindeer, we would search the sky for the brightest star we could find.  I would tell them that, just as the shepherds followed that light to find Immanuel, GOD WITH US, if they follow the the light of Jesus, they too, will find their way to God.  

I would find an Advent devotional to do with my children so that each day focuses on preparing their hearts for Him, not santa.

Lastly, I would explain how all the other activities of Christmas (done in moderation), the lights, decorations, baking, presents, etc are preparation for the biggest and best birthday party of the year. A Happy Birthday banner would hang among the other decorations.  Jesus would have the fanciest birthday cake ever.  We would have one great party, complete with the singing of Happy Birthday to our Savior.

Would I still take my children to visit santa and write him letters?  Yes, I would.  But they would know that he is just a fun part of the celebration.  They would know that santa isn’t real.  Does that steal their joy during Christmas?  I don’t think so.  I think it redirects it to the proper place.   

That is how I would change the WONDER AND EXCITEMENT OF IT ALL TO FOCUS ON JESUS!   

** Note:  My thoughts are not meant to start a firestorm about how Christian parents handle all the things that swarm around Christmas.  I just wanted to share my heart and encourage others with ideas to make Jesus the main event at Christmas.  I would love to hear ideas of how your family has kept Jesus at the forefront of their Christmas celebration.