The New and Improved Light?

Tonight, we went to our church’s annual Christmas Eve candlelight communion service. This service has always been very special to me; something that our family always did together. 

This evening, at the candlelight service, instead of handing me the customary white candle with the little paper skirt to catch the hot drips, the usher at the door handed me a small plastic stick.

 Noticing the questioning look on my face, the usher quietly explained that for safety, the light stick had replaced the traditional candle, which had been a fire hazard. He hurriedly demonstrated how I would “whack” the light stick to activate it.

 Explanation and demonstration concluded, he motioned me on and turned to the next family coming in the door.

“Whack” it? Activate it? The candle represents Christ’s light in us to a lost world, and I’m going to ‘whack and activate it’? I smiled till my teeth were dry, murmured my thanks toward the usher and headed for the sanctuary, my mind screaming, “NOOO!”  As I moved forward, I realized that after all that, I’d not been given a light stick—which was perfectly fine with me!

The beautifully decorated and softly illuminated sanctuary quieted my unease. My husband sat down beside me and pointing to his light stick, I whispered, “What’s up with THIS?” He had already whacked his light and was enjoying it. He said, “It’s a light stick, cool, huh?” 

In frustration, I turned my attention forward, trying to focus on the scripture that was being read instead of the questions circling in my mind.

The Pastor read the scripture about the night Christ was born. His familiar voice, that had read the sacred story every year, did little to sooth my emotional unrest.

I sat there, pondering the light of Christ, trying to rationalize that it really was ok to represent this divine light with a fluorescent plastic tube; that had to be whacked to be activated. 

The Pastor finished his lesson and told us all to come forward for communion.  After we partook of the elements, he told everyone to ‘whack their light stick.’ The girls and ladies whacked their sticks.

All the men and boys, having activated the light of Christ as soon as they were seated, waved their light sticks. 

I still did not have a light stick. I did not want a light stick and certainly would not EVER— WHACK the “light of Christ” even if I did have a light stick. 

As we all made a giant circle around the sanctuary, holding the softly glowing light sticks, I wondered how God felt about representing the light of His precious Son with a whack and glow light stick.

Maybe He was in heaven telling His archangel, Gabriel, to “come look at what these crazy kids are doing.”  Maybe He was even rolling His eyeballs in amusement.  Or not.

As everyone stood, holding their glowing light stick, singing “Silent Night,”  I whispered to God that I was sorry that His precious light was being represented by a whack and glow light stick.

Thoroughly emotionally traumatized, I was relieved when we all moved toward the back to exit the sanctuary. We all left to go out into the world, to take the light of Christ to everyone.

As I walked to our car, I still struggled to envision the Light of Christ, the light of the world, God’s precious Son, represented as a light stick that had to be whacked to activate it. 

Maybe I’m just getting old?  However, an incident from a Christmas past reminded me that there really had been a fire hazard with the use of the traditional candles–. 

Then, the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart and I knew that not even the wonders of technology could ever diminish the truth; Christ is the light of the world and He has called you and me to take that light to a lost world. 

Technology hadn’t belittled the example; it had only served to keep us safe so nobody would set anybody’s coat on fire, like the year Mrs. Thomas’ fur collar had gotten singed.  Mercy.

John 8:12 When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.”

Prayer:  Father, help me to understand that nothing, nobody, not technology, no tale nor circumstance can ever diminish the significance of Christ to a lost world. Thank you. I love you and—Lord Jesus—Happy birthday!


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