Light of the World
Thoughts on the Christmas Eve Candlelight Service
I remember the first time I attended a Christmas Eve candlelight service. It was just a few years ago. Our family arrived on time, but due to the popularity of Christmas Eve services, the only seats available were in the choir loft. Toward the end of the service, when it came time to light our candles, I thought to myself, “This is going to take forever!” However, to my surprise, I was humbled to see the entire sanctuary, including the balcony, lit in a matter of minutes.
Saturday evening, Dec. 24, 2011, Centerpoint Fellowship held two Christmas Eve candlelight services. Worship leaders Shelley Green and Lewies Van Der Merwe led the congregation in Christmas carols, while Pastor John Schmidt gave the Christmas sermon. During service, John shared a passage from John chapter 8 where Jesus says, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.”
After reading this passage, John lit a single candle and passed the flame to his wife Debbie and sons, Cameron, Evan, and Graham. As the Schmidt family walked the aisles lighting candles, I was reminded of that first candlelight service I attended and how quickly light can spread. Over 900 candles were lit within moments, illuminating the entire ballroom. It was a stunning sight to see.
All stumble in darkness from time to time. As Paul states in Romans 3:23, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
For some, the darkness may be an addiction to drugs or alcohol or some form of sexual temptation. For others, darkness may be found in guilt, anger, pride, frustration, or the constant stress from trying to do it all. However, when we choose to follow Jesus, we begin to dispel the darkness and radiate a light of gentleness, joy, peace, patience, self-control, and love. Within moments, we can transform an entire community with the light of Jesus Christ; Oh, what a stunning sight for our Heavenly Father to see!
“You are the light of the world - like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.” Matthew 5:14-16 (NLT)