During a trip to Ometepe Island, Nicaragua in late November, I was awoken at 4:00 am to the sound of fireworks and loud music from about 1/2 mile up the road. The local residents were celebrating a special day in Advent at church before their workday began at sunrise. I was made aware by my friends, Tom & Esther, that the entire month of December was a firework-filled preparation leading up to Christmas. Throughout that morning, afternoon and early evening, fireworks permeated the landscape on Ometepe as a reminder of Christ’s upcoming birth.
At first, I thought to myself, “what a contrast to the way Americans at home celebrate the season!” But then I pondered deeper, and recalled the spectacle of light displays & sounds that adorn our homes, neighborhoods, churches, towns and cities in preparation for the Holidays. (Note: On Ometepe, consistent electricity is a luxury, even to those who can afford it.)
While fireworks and Christmas lights are very different methods, both are meant to light up the sky and draw our attention to the same, larger meaning of Christmas: the ultimate hope, promise & light of Jesus, our Savior! John 1:9 The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world.
When I returned home to the US in early December to all of the newly-hung Christmas lights in my neighborhood, instead of noticing how “pretty” the lights looked, I found myself reflecting on, and finding gratitude in, God’s perfect gift of grace through the birth of His Son, Jesus – wohoo! It felt like fireworks inside of me.
This Christmas, I wish the same awesome feeling for you and your family (without the 4:00 am fireworks episode). Also, as you make your 2018 New Year’s resolution(s), consider how you can be a light for Jesus in your family, community or beyond. He wants us to be a light for others. Matthew 5:16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.
Rochelle & T.J.