Just a Light Bulb

By Sheri Ellington

Christmastime is such a fun, but busy, time of year. There’s so much to do to get ready – making lists, shopping, baking, decorating…ah, decorating. Most of the decorating is fun, but there is one part that can be very frustrating and really try our patience, at least at my house: the lights!

It can be challenging to get all of our lights to work – inside of the house (on the banisters, on the Christmas trees, in the windows), and outside of the house (around the doors and on the shrubs). When it can take so much time to decorate and can even be frustrating when things don’t work as they should, why do we do continue to hang Christmas lights year after year?

Can you really imagine Christmas without the lights?

Let’s face it – there is an annual program on TV dedicated to the lighting of the Christmas tree in Rockefeller Center and another ceremony to light the National Christmas Tree in Washington, DC. Lights are pretty significant to our celebration of Christmas.

Why are lights so important? The quick and ready answer is because Jesus was born that first Christmas and He is the light of the world.

But maybe we can perceive a deeper meaning if we consider this “parable” of the Christmas lights.

One day a man decided to decorate his home for Christmas. He made a plan for the lights to function in certain ways (spot lights, candles in windows, sparkling in sync with music, etc.). He purchased the lights at the store and placed them where he wanted them to be, in accordance with his plan. He connected them to a power source. When people drove by his house saw his handiwork, they talked about what a great job he did, impressed that he would take so much time and care to create this intricate display of lights in his yard.

In this story, the man represents God, and we are the light bulbs.

The man had a plan for the lights in his yard. God had a plan to use us as lights in the world after Jesus returned to Heaven.

  • Ephesians 2:10 “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”
  • Matthew 5:14a (Jesus was talking to His followers.) “You are the light of the world.”

The man purchased his lights at the store. God purchased us with the blood of Jesus.

  • 1 Peter 1:18-19 “knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot.”

The man placed the lights where He wanted them to be. God placed us where He wanted us to be so that we can accomplish His planned works.

  • Acts 17:26 “And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place,” 
  • 1 Corinthians 12:18 “But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose.”

The man connected his lights to a power source. God empowers us by His Spirit at work in us.

  • 2 Timothy 1:7 “for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.
  • Ephesians 3:20-21 “Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.”

When people drove by the man’s house, the man got the credit and compliments. We are to let our light shine so that God gets the praise!!

  • Matthew 5:14a,16 “You are the light of the world. … let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”
No one in his right mind would walk up to the Christmas lights in the yard and say, “Wow, Light Bulbs! You’re doing a great job!”

That would be ridiculous! The one who planned, purchased, placed, and plugged in the lights deserves the accolades. Likewise, all that we do for the Lord should bring Him praise. We are just like the light bulbs. He is the One who planned, purchased us, placed us, and empowered us. He deserves all the credit, recognition, and glory.

This Christmas season, as you are decorating with lights, or driving around town enjoying others’ festive displays of lights, I hope you will consider this parable and remember:

We are just “light bulbs.”