There were three “light” things at our church last night. First was the sermon – the subject was peace; second was the candle lighting; third focused on the lights of our Angel Garden.
First, pastor shed light on the four different types of peace we can find in the Bible:
- International – over which we have no control and will not see when we look at the world as a whole (Matthew 24:6-8);
- Interpersonal – where we control only one segment, the rest depending on another person’s beliefs (Luke 12:51-53);
- Personal – the peace we feel within ourselves (John 14:27, Philippians 4:7);
- With God – complete, without separation (Ephesians 2:12-14)
Second, we took a look at the light scriptures. My favorites were mentioned as they seem contradictive:
Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. (Matthew 5:14-16 KJV)
Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life. (John 8:12 KJV)
Easily understood when we know:
As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world. (John 9:5 KJV)
He is seen in this world through us – we are the light when we are with Him. There will come a time that is not so:
And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever. (Revelation 22:5 KJV)
The congregation then picks up candles, circles the sanctuary and the lights are turned off. Darkness prevails, until he lights his candle. He then shares with the people to his right and left and the light moves around the room. What a difference just one candle makes – but what a tremendous difference a room full makes. A beautiful illustration of what can be when we share the light of the world.
Third was a few moments spent outside, in the Angel Garden. Started many years ago in the community, each angel is purchased by someone to remember a loved one who has died. A few years ago our church was asked to assume responsibility to display the angels in December and one person volunteered to oversee the project. Many angels have been added over the years. Another member built a lovely white silhouette manger scene that is also lighted.
Of course we know that people do not become angels, we are entirely different creatures of God. But these lighted angels are a remembrance of those we’ve loved and now miss. The names of those being remembered as well as the names of those who donated the angels are read, and we close in prayer.
This Sunday-before-Christmas lighting comes because of the birth of one child in Bethlehem. Heralded by angels, celebrated by shepherds and worshipped by wise men who sought Him:
Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift. (2 Corinthians 9:15 KJV)