I sat in church last Sunday morning just before the service began looking around at the beautiful greenery. There were red velvet bows on Christmas wreaths with pine cones, red candles with glass hurricane lanterns and Christmas trees with white lights. As I took in the entire scene, I smiled at its beauty.
Suddenly, my eye was drawn to one of the Christmas trees up front. A strand of its lights had gone out leaving an unlit portion on the tree. A choir member was fiddling with it trying to get it to come back on and was successful.
During the service, my eye was drawn back to that same tree, and I noticed that same strand of lights had stopped working again. It wasn’t important, I know, but it bothered me. And so….I prayed.
I asked God to turn those lights back on, to give me a visible sign that He was present in that sanctuary. It wasn’t that I didn’t think He was there. He promises us in Hebrews 13:5 “never will I leave you, never will I forsake you.” I know that God is with me all the time. But for some reason…on that morning…I needed Him to SHOW me in a way that was tangible. And He gave me more than I asked for.
I sat there staring at the lights and praying for them to come back on, and after a very brief time, while I was still praying………they did. I smiled as tears came to my eyes and I thanked God for answering my prayer. I felt such joy that He would do that for me.
Sometime later, my eyes were drawn back to the tree, and once again, the lights were out. I felt my earlier joy begin to ebb, but at that moment, God spoke to my heart. He said, “My child, those lights do not represent Me. They are temporal. They can not last. My light is eternal. It is forever. It can not dim. It can not be put out.” “Thank you, Lord,” I said. My smile returned for it is that knowledge that should bring us joy.
When I returned the following evening for the Christmas Eve service, that strand of lights was still out. My smile, however, did not fade. My joy comes from the fact that I serve a God whose Son lives in my heart and whose light is eternal.