This Christmas season the world aches and groans because of the losses and tragedies of the year. Many lives have been broken, and many dreams have been shattered. People the world over need to see the light of love that came down on that very first Christmas to brighten their lives, about which the prophet Isaiah wrote, “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death, upon them a light has shined.”1

Today it may seem that this light has been shuttered, as the shadows around us have deepened. But darkness can never triumph over light. We have but to flip a light switch or light a candle, and darkness will be driven from the room.

It can be the same in life. We can let the light and love of Jesus into our hearts and then shine it onto those around us by reaching out with kindness and concern. His light will shine brightly against the backdrop of suffering, tragedy, and loss that permeates much of the world, bringing hope and promise for the future.

It may seem that the difference your small acts of kindness can make would be too small to be noticed and too little to matter, but you’d be surprised. Even one candle can be seen a mile away when it’s very dark.

There is a story about a man who, as he walked along the beach, picked up stranded starfish and tossed them back into the ocean. A curious passerby asked, “Why do you do that? There are hundreds of those starfish on this beach. What difference does it make?” The man bent down and picked up another starfish. As he tossed it into the water he replied, “It made a difference to that one.”

You can make a difference too by letting God’s love shine through you, so that those whose lives you touch will be encouraged and regain hope for the year ahead. As with the starfish, you may not be able to reach out to everyone, but you can make a difference in the lives you do touch. And it doesn’t stop there, because they, in turn, can make a difference in the lives they touch.

It can happen, and it can start now if we all make this our Christmas prayer:

Dear Jesus, fill our hearts with the light and love of Christmas. Make of us a string of living lights that will light the world around us with Your love and hope. Amen.

  1. Isaiah 9:2