“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.'” (John 8:12)
We decorate our house modestly for Christmas: white electric candles in most windows, a net of white lights on the corner shrubs, and two small spiral trees near the front door. We keep them up through January for the Epiphany season to celebrate that Jesus is “the light of the world.”
On cold, snowy nights the lights are a happy reminder of the comfort and joy of Christmas. The light keeps shining in the gloomy (and sometimes depressing) months of the year.
Jesus promises that we will not be in the dark when we follow him. Believing that promise can be challenging at times. Perhaps it helps to recall then that even the first disciples did not find faith easy. On one occasion, a number of followers gave up on him, but Peter said, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life” (John 6:68).
What does it mean to follow Jesus today? The place to start is to listen, watch, and learn what Jesus says, does, and finds important. Jesus reached out to the hungry, the poor, the blind, and the unfairly treated. He also obeyed the deep truth of the law. And he told his disciples — and us — “You are the light of the world … Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:14-16).
Lord Jesus Christ, help me to shine your light in all that I say and do, that our Father may be praised. Amen.