We’ve all probably experienced it – you drag the Christmas boxes out of the attic or basement so you can decorate the tree. After what seems like forever, the tree is finally upright and standing proudly in the middle of the room. Now it’s time to load it down with strands and strands of Tinsel and Twinkling lights. You open up the box with last year’s light strands and sadly realize two things very quickly:
- The strands of lights are twisted together like spaghetti noodles in a stock pot.
- Half of the lights aren’t even lighting up.
Your tinsel has suddenly lost its twinkle.
But there’s another kind of tinsel that loses its twinkle in our lives, and that’s just the spark that gives us the desire to put our feet on the floor each day; the zest for life and what we’ll be facing today. All we want is peace – peace in our heart, our home, our life, yet it seems unattainable, and darkness has filled our life, as much as we hate to admit it.
Our quest for peace can make us turn in several directions – looking for a new strand of “tinsel,” if you will. We lay down the darkened strand and pick up a new one that might include:
- Preoccupation – We may decide that if we just do something we’ll feel better. So we fill our calendars with every activity and party we’re invited to, yet the end result is more stress, rather than peace!
- Prescriptions – Our doctor may suggest a little energy boosting pill that will help put a spring in our step. Or perhaps the temptation to take prescription meds that will numb us might present itself, but that only brings a whole new set of problems, and simply masks the turmoil and darkness that is hidden below.
- Position – The temptation to pour ourselves into our career is another route to hide the darkness of our heart. We wonder if advancing our position at work, or increasing our financial status could help, but it, too, reveals more knots in the “tinsel.”
Sounds pretty discouraging, doesn’t it? But wait! Jesus Christ, knowing our hearts and the darkness of our lives, came to this earth to bring to us exactly what we need. Right before He was going to the cross, He said to His disciples in John 16:33
These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.
Let’s think about how to address the darkness that you may be experiencing. To do that, we’ll make analogies with strands of Christmas lights that are dark and what we have to do to get them to light correctly.
- Read the directions. With Christmas lights you may need to read to see what the directions say to do. You may have missed something. You may need the reminder that the directions have in writing. “Oh, these aren’t meant for outside lighting…” We then must obey the instructions!
As a believer, our “instructions” are in God’s Word. Have you neglected God’s Word recently? Is that what is causing your lack of enthusiasm for your Christian life? Often the thing we know we need to do is the last thing we actually do. We must give it more than just a glance. Spend time pouring into Scripture and listen to what the Lord is saying to you.
Psalm. 119:130 – The entrance of God’s Word gives light. The Spirit of God speaks to us through His Word. He’ll tell you what you need to hear – it will be what no one else can say into your heart.
Psalm 43:5 Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God
Casting off our miseries often only requires remembering God’s mercies.
- Change the bad bulb. One DIY site said, IF YOU’RE LUCKY, SIMPLY PLUGGING IN THE MINI LIGHTS WILL REVEAL A BAD BULB. Change the bad bulb and boom – you’ve got lights!
In a believer’s life, a “bad bulb” is unconfessed sin. Is there sin you need to confess? I John 1:6 says to believers,
If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth:
An unbeliever out of fellowship with God is a poor testimony! Our words and our life don’t match up!
Sometimes the reason for the darkness is due to the fact that we’re out of fellowship with God. The farther we get away from God, the darker our world gets. Pray – plug into the Source and ask God if there’s something burned out – sin in your life. Call it what God calls it. Is there something you need to obey? Do it. Are you doing something that is directly against Scripture? Stop it. Confess it. I John 1:9
- Get a right perspective. In a month, will one dead strand of lights really matter to you? Will the dark strand be your outstanding memory next year? I seriously doubt it. Let it go; it isn’t that important.
Realize that for a believer, this hard situation you’re dealing with is as bad as it will ever get for you. “In this world you will have tribulations – reminds us that this world is fleeting. One day we’ll be with Christ, and trouble will be over.
Revelation 21:4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.
- Perhaps you need to simply exchange the strand of lights! If the strand is dead, it’s never going to have light. Take it back to the store and exchange it for good lights!
Friend, Are you sure you’re God’s child? Eph 2:1 And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; You cannot have light (peace and joy) outside of Christ! If you’re trying to get through on your own, you’re never going to get there!
Years ago when our daughter was still hoping for Santa to come visit her on Christmas, my husband thought it would be great fun to take her little jingle bells outside her bedroom window after she’d gone to bed, and give his best, “Ho! Ho! Ho!” to make her think Santa was passing by.
She was tucked in bed tightly and I was seated in the living room across from her bedroom door, watching with anticipation as my own “Santa” slipped into the darkness. He gave it his best with a few shakes of the bells and roof-lifting Ho, ho, ho’s. In a matter of seconds, our three year-old was in my lap screaming at the top of her lungs in sheer terror. #goodideaturnedbad
We tried to console her by telling her it was just her daddy. He even dressed her in her coat and took her to the spot where he had stood outside her window. She was not buying that! Nor was she buying sleeping in her room that could at any moment by visited by Santa! Instead, what she had to have was her sister’s company. Her toddler bed was moved into “Sissy’s Room”…for the next two months. #parentfail
It seemed ridiculous to us because we knew that in that darkness, her father was just outside the window. He knew what was in the darkness. He wanted to comfort her in the darkness, but she refused.
Oh, that story reminds me of myself! How often in “dark times” the Lord, my Heavenly Father, was just outside “my window,” yet my terror or wrong perception of the darkness drove me from Him, when what He wanted was for that to drive me TO Him.
God allows the darkness so that we might understand that He is very near, that He loves us and desires that we come to Him in our darkness and exchange it for His light!
John 8:12 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.
For an unbeliever, this life is as good as it will ever get. These hard days are the best you’ll have if you don’t trust Christ as you Savior, but Jesus said, In me ye will have peace. The only way we have peace is in the PERSON of Jesus Christ!
Jesus told His disciples to “TAKE COURAGE!” Why? He has defeated the world! Christ died on the cross for you because He loves you! He wants to give you eternal life.
Think of exchanging out your tangled, dark Christmas tinsel, which represents your lack of peace, and exchanging it for the Person of Jesus Christ – the Light of the World! No more confusion! No more darkness!
So what do you need to do…
- Read the directions?
- Change the bad bulb?
- Get a right perspective?
- Exchange the strand?
Let Jesus Christ bring the light back into your life!