Lights have a purpose — to give light

Published 3:00 pm Sunday, January 1, 2023

The giant box that rested in the corner of our carport storage room all year held a mass of Christmas lights that we pulled, yanked and sorted through the first of December. We were able to salvage enough for our outdoor decorations for the month, but I promised to do an overhaul on the box when it was time to store lights again.

That was a task the week after Christmas. Othel heaped this year’s outdoor lights on the kitchen floor so I could separate the “workers” from the “shirkers.” As I examined one string of lights at a time, I thought about how each string had a resemblance to church life.

Each light is attached to the main current carrier — just like church members identify with and assemble with their respected members of their denomination. The key for the members, like the individual lights, is to stay plugged into the Source of power.

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While I worked on the strings that had wiring issues, I would unplug from the power source. The string lay dead and light-less in my lap — like some churches I’ve attended over my many years. It was obvious that the Power was lacking in the worship service, and missions were not an emphasis. A base and sad description of that kind of church marked it as dead. For Christmas lights and churches to reflect light they must be attached to the power source.

As I examined each light of those strings that had only a portion of the lights working, I looked for the clouded, dark lights which identified them as burned out. They were attached to the power but their inner workings were faulty. I’ve known church members like that — remaining a part of a church fellowship but leading a “cloudy” life — calling themselves members of a church but lacking the heart change that made them a true child of God. Church members and Christmas lights that don’t “light” reduce the effectiveness of the church and the entire string of lights.

Then there were the lights that appeared to be sound, but when the string was plugged in, they remained light-less. You could call those lights hypocrites. They were pretending to be something that they weren’t. I’ve known church members like that who look the part, always present for church worship but absent of any identifying fruit of the Spirit.

Inspecting and sorting through the Christmas lights box was a needed and past due task. By the end of my project, the box wasn’t as full, but its contents were ready for next Christmas’ assignment. All lights were in working condition when they were plugged into power.

As I closed the box I found myself doing some soul-searching of my own light. Did I allow sin to cloud its purpose? Did I ever think my own strength and power could substitute for the Holy Spirit’s power? Was I committed to staying attached to the gathering of fellow church members? Lights are intended for one purpose — to shine.

Letters for Camille Anding may be sent to P.O. Box 551, Brookhaven, MS 39602.