It is my pleasure to share another insightful post from guest writer, my awesome sister-in-law, Lisa Pruitt:
This morning I awoke to the cold, scooted into the kitchen and began making my coffee. It was still dark out and when my coffee was finished, I settled in the living room to enjoy it. I sat there in the room, slowing coming to life, and looked around. I thought how lovely the room looked with the Christmas tree and lights. If I squinted just right, the lights on the tree blurred into stars and I thought about Jesus’ birth and the star of Bethlehem.
In the readings for today, I found myself reading John 8 over and over. There is so much happening in the chapter. Many verses in John 8 have great importance for Christianity. However, it is John 8:12 which resonated the loudest with me today. Jesus said “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but have the light of life.” What absolutely beautiful words. Jesus’ light was a star over his manger, it is the stars of our night sky, and it is in the lights on my Christmas tree.
I remember my astronomy class in college. A simple definition of light is visually perceived radiant energy. The science of light is intermingled with the science of color. Light can be reflected and refracted, concentrated and redistributed. It has a wavelength, a speed and can be polarized. If I were to research light in any encyclopedia, I would find information about all the different types of light. But the light of Jesus might not be on those pages because it is a light which we cannot see with our physical eyes.
When we are born, our eyes use physical light to see the beauty of our parents’ faces, to perceive colors and shapes, to detect wonders and dimensions. Although physical light is important for sight and even for our physical health and well-being, it is the light we cannot physically see that is vital to our spiritual health. It is the light of Jesus. Without Jesus’ illumination, we would be in spiritual darkness. We fear darkness because evil things can happen without light. More crimes and sins happen in the night than at any other time.
I remember a time I was alone in a cave for hours. I was waiting for a group to return and had turned off my light. The longer I sat there, the more the darkness seemed to become palpable. I could feel it, sense it. The darkness almost seemed to be a living thing, swirling around me, whispering, teasing me. My mind played tricks, I imagined that there were tendrils of darkness wrapping around me like long, skinny fingers. However, I fought down my rising panic because I was in control. Yes, I was in total darkness, but I was there because I chose to be. I remember a couple of times picking up my light and holding it, resting my finger on the switch just in case. Just in case the water levels rose. Just in case a rock fell on me. Just in case a cave cricket decided to take a walk on my face. Just in case the darkness started whispering.
I once read a study about a group of people who agreed to live in isolated total darkness for 48 hours. One man wrote about his experience. He said that he was unaffected by the darkness for the first four or five hours; even considered it soothing. He fell asleep and awoke after a time but had no way to measure how long he had slept or how many hours the experiment had lasted. He went through a period where he paced the room, slamming into the walls, hurting himself just so he could have some sensory input. Then he began to hallucinate and imagined that he saw a large pile of oyster shells. Because he was lost in the darkness, he mind created its own apparations.
Without Jesus, we are lost to the darkness. Jesus’ light reveals truth. Without His light and His Truth, everything is black or shades of gray. Maybe I would not own up to my mistakes, misdeeds, and my many imperfections without examining myself in His light. Jesus said that whoever follows him will never walk in darkness but have the light of life. His light reveals the way to salvation. When we believe in Him we can have eternal life.
Just as the fluorescent light in my kitchen encourages my orchid to grow, bathing in Jesus’ light can assist my spiritual growth. Keeping Jesus in our life can change us and allow our spirit to blossom. We become rooted in Jesus love which can allows us to withstand the angry winds of turmoil and sadness which enter our lives at times. When we lose our way, Jesus light can be used as a beacon to find the path again. He can lead us out of the dark cave, the dense forest; he can help us find our way. When his light appears, I must turn from the darkness and follow him or I will be forever lost.
I must not only allow his light to guide me as a compass but I must receive it, absorb it, and embrace it. By doing so, Jesus will become part of me. I will not only reflect His light but it will shine from within in me and help me to make correct choices, to truly walk in a Christian life which is guided by Jesus’ teachings. Because Jesus has given us His light, we can enjoy a relationship with God that stretches into eternity.