Light Your World

Sunday, December 9, 2012

We went to a Christmas Carnival held at the church nearby our home yesterday. Instead of focusing on celebrating Christmas among their own, they chose to spend money, time, and energy on reaching out to the neighborhood. Every visitor was personally greeted by a member of the church and given chance to hear the Story of Christmas. 

My greeter, a middle age lady told me that in order to serve thousands of cookies, they divided the task so each family or volunteer bake whatever that they can. She told me that she baked 4 dozens cookies. I told her, it must take a lot of work to pull off such a big event. "O yes, but it's worth it to get to know people in the neighborhood," she answered.

Christmas songs were played, snacks and hot drinks were served. There were games for the kids, Christmas crafts, even faked snow. It touched me deeply to see how they opened their arms, spent time and energy to do a big program like that. 
I thank God for this church and pray that many more churches will do the same. 

Then God spoke through the words of this song that I listened to many times but  didn't pay attention to the lyric 'till tonight.

Light Your World by NewSong

Two doors down one rocking chair is rocking
She sits there all alone, her husband dead and gone
The best years of her life they spent together
He was always strong, but now she's on her own

And the telephone never rings
No one laughs, no one sings
It's quiet there
Does anyone care?

Light your world
Let the love of God shine through
In the little things you do
Light your world
And though your light may be
Reaching only two or three
Light your world!

A knocking at her door breaks the silence
She looks out to see a little boy from down the street
She cracks the door, surprised that he came over
Flowers in his hand like a little gentleman
He said, 'I picked these just for you
I hope you like the color blue

Could I stay a while
I love to see you smile.'

Light your world
Let the love of God shine through
In the little things you do
Light your world
And though your light may be
Reaching only two or three
Light your world

It only takes a little time
To show someone how much you care
It only takes a little time
To answer someone's biggest prayer

Often, I am busy with my own agenda: Christmas potlucks, service, gathering, gifts, and so on. And forget that Christ came so that sinners like me may be saved and have eternal life and I ought to share the Good News to others not keeping it to myself.

Ann Voskamp shared this great list from her post: 
1. A “Gifts We Already Have List”
Hang a long paper on a wall or on the fridge or back of door. Fill that list up before Christmas — with all the countless ways God blesses you all as a family. Count 1000 (or a bit more or less) of the gifts you already have this Christmas!

2. Thanks Mob the neighborhood
Set out a basket of Thank you postcards and leave a pen and stamps in the basket. Add a stash of chocolate bars. See if you can empty the thank-you card basket, accompanied by chocolate bars, by Christmas — a thank-you card and chocolate bar for the postman, the garbage collector, folks at the hair salon, the crossing guard, the church janitor.

3. Love-in for a Shut-In
Adopt a shut-in this Advent. One person who is homebound or elderly or in a nursing home — and have the kids think of one thing they can do for that shut-in face to face over Advent. Sing Christmas carols with them one evening? Bring them a very small tree in a pot and every week of Advent pop in with one more meaningful ornament for the tree? Bring them a meal? Find a way for the kids to be face-to-face with blessing someone.

4. Thrift Gifts
Before every trip to the mall — check out one thrift store. Before any online order — check out kijji or ebay. Help kids to thrill in the hunt for thrifted gems — and see it as a way to make gifts keep on giving! Think Thrift Gift!

5. Lower expectations to heighten Joy
“Expectations kill relationships — and joy.” (One Thousand Gifts) Consider ways of sharing with the kids that Christmas is going to be smaller and holier this year. Set low spending limits for all gift-giving and make the creativity with little part of the Christmas fun. Live by the small rule: Only buy for Christmas Day what can be paid for by New Year’s Day. Lower the expectations to heighten the joy!

6. Giving Lists not Getting Lists
Spend quiet time with each of the kids thinking and planning on what they can give and how they can be the gift, give a blessing — so that they can live out the truth of: It is more blessed to give than to receive. What can they make? Bake? Create? How could they surprise? Bless? Who is on their Giving list? Let’s focus on our Giving Lists —  and not so much on any getting lists.

7. King Gifts
Hear Jesus whispering it: “When You give to the least of these — you give to Me.” Consider how to make this Christmas radical — and get out the King’s Catalogues and get excited about giving bringing gifts to our King! Gather the family around with all the catalogues and make it a family birthday party for Jesus — will you bring the King a goat, clean water, a chicken, a Bible for a new Believer, a warm coat?

“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house." 
Matthew 5:13-15