Matthew 5:14-16 (NIV)

14 “You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 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. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.

John 1:5 (NIV)

5 The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.

DEVOTION – Bill Pike (Virginia)

All the colorful Christmas decorations are back in the cardboard and plastic boxes and crammed into a section of the attic.  For the next eleven months, darkness will mark their days.

Christmas is extraordinary, but it makes me lose my sanity for a few days.  My family strives to bake the perfect cookies, prepare the perfect Christmas dinner, find the perfect gift.

This pursuit of perfection worries me.  I become so distracted by and entangled in all of the Christmas trimmings that the real joy and meaning of Christmas don’t seem to stick with me for long.  When Christmas is over, I shove it back into the attic with the decorations until next December.

But God wants us to remember, that the light that Christ’s birth brought into this world wasn’t created to stay in the darkness of the attic.  The light found in the manager is for us to carry in our hearts and to share with those we encounter each day of the year.

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: The light of Christ can shine through me all year long.

PRAYER: Dear God, as we start the New Year, help us to keep the light of Christmas in our hearts and not in the darkness of our attics.  As Jesus taught us, we pray, “Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come.  Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth.  Give us day by day our daily bread.  And forgive  us our sins; for we also forgive one that  is indebted to us.  And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil.”  Amen.