I love the Christmas season. I usually start periodically listening to Christmas music in September. My decorations are historically up before Thanksgiving, allowing me to enjoy them for a longer period. Each morning I have been sitting by the fireplace and Christmas tree to work on my writing, the light of the tree illuminating my Bible and notebook.
This year, I find myself more focused on what the Advent season really is. It’s a time for great hope, yet I can’t help connecting Jesus’ birth with his eventual death. For us. It makes me emotional. I think of my own children, then think about Mary. She looked down on her newborn son, heart full of love and happiness, knowing he was the Savior of the world. She watched him suffer, endure mockery and torture, and ultimately die for the very people that abused him . . . and for everyone.
Today, the Advent Bible plans I am doing focused on Isaiah. Isaiah is a prophet I hope to study in more depth (Beth Moore, where’s the Bible study for him?!). I learned something new about Isaiah: most of the people didn’t listen to his messages. “The King Is Coming” study said his “message-approval rate” was low. But he forged ahead, walking in obedience. God called him to be a prophet, and he is now thought of as one of the greatest prophets. The road likely seemed impossible to Isaiah – God even warned him that people wouldn’t listen – but he walked in obedience and received a great reward.
I thought about my own life. God has called me to do something that feels impossible to me. The enemy continues to attack me, and I fight each day to walk in obedience. For too long, I have allowed myself to become distracted when I feel like my “message-approval rate” was too low. I’d stop writing, stop blogging. Stop sharing the good God is doing in my life.
Isaiah 9:2 tells us “the people who walk in darkness will see a great light. For those who live in a land of deep darkness, a light will shine.” Jesus was the light for the people suffering, and specifically in this verse for the Gentiles. For those people who were not God’s chosen people. He sent Jesus and adopted them all into His kingdom.
Now, we are called to be the light. In order to continue shining God’s love, we need to walk in obedience even if our “message-approval rate” seems low. Here’s the wonderful, amazing thing about God. He will get your message – whether it’s through writing, speaking, doing, giving . . . whatever the means – to the intended audience. Perhaps it’s an audience of 100. Maybe it’s an audience of only 1.
This is a season of hope. Many, many people still sit in darkness. This time of year, while joyfully to many, can be incredibly lonely and difficult for others. Be the light. Spread the news of hope. Don’t worry whether or not anyone is receiving your message; trust God to use you.
“I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called – his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance.” Ephesians 1:18
I encourage you to focus on being the light this Christmas season.