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Get In The Light
December 24, 1997

The theme of our service this evening is light. In John 8:12, Jesus said, "I am the light of the world." In Matthew 5:14, Jesus said, "You are the light of the world." Contradictory? How can it be both? We are the light of the world by reflecting Jesusí light. As the moon has no light of its own, but shines by reflecting the light of the sun, so you and I reflect the light of Christ. Have you ever held a mirror in just the right position so that the sunlight was reflected by the mirror onto an object? In order to reflect the light of Christ, put yourself in a position where Christís light shines on you and reflects off you onto the world. Therefore, this Christmas, get in the light. You canít do much reflecting if youíre not standing in the light.

A church drama troupe presented A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens. The Social Hall was transformed into a theater. The audience was amused to read that tightfisted Ebenezer Scrooge was played by the chairman of the church board, a gentle man of un-Scrooge-like generosity. They were impressed, though, by the skill and energy he brought to his part. They especially enjoyed how he growled, "Bah! Humbug!" After a night of bad dreams, Scrooge was born again, and greeted Christmas Day by opening his window and shouting, "Merry Christmas, everyone!" Then, looking for a boy to do some Christmas shopping for him, the actor pointed to an imaginary figure and said, "Come up here, boy Iíve got something wonderful for you to do!"

Something beautiful and unexpected happened. A six-year-old boy in the audience thought Scrooge was pointing to him, and spontaneously he arose from his chair and walked on stage, ready to do "something wonderful." Scrooge blinked in disbelief. The audience held its breath. Then, bounding down from his window perch, Scrooge strode across the stage and cheerily embraced the waiting boy. "Yes, indeed," he exclaimed, his voice full of blessing. "You are the one, the very one I had in mind." Then he gently led the boy back to his seat in the audience, returned to the stage and resumed the play. When the curtain calls were held, it was the boy who received the loudest and warmest applause.

This Christmas, how about getting off your chair, get out of the spectator section, and get on stage. Get involved in the action. Get in the light. Like the little boy in the audience, become so captivated, so enthralled that you get carried away and join the action. Play your part in the drama called life with gusto. Put yourself into it with all that you are and have.

In the beautiful drama called "Christmas", which character are you?

Are you Scrooge? Tightfisted, miserly, stingy Scrooge just waiting to be born again?

Are you Bob Cratchett and Tiny Tim? The victims, ordered about, bossed by those bigger and more powerful than you

Are you a shepherd? Marginalized, living on the edge of society, usually not noticed, but doing your job-- guarding the sheep, protecting them. But, to the shepherds, the angels came! Be alert! The sky may brighten with mystery and indescribable glory.

Are you Joseph? Perhaps the conversation went like this. When the innkeeper told Joseph there was no room in the inn,

Joseph persisted, "But my wife is pregnant."

Innkeeper: "Well, itís not my fault."

Joseph: "Itís not my fault either!"

Joseph deserves more credit in this story. Joseph was the responsible one. Joseph represents the people who end up taking care of their parents, or elderly friends, or children who move back home, or their grandchildren. "Not my fault either," they contend, but they do what needs to be done-- sometimes sacrificing their short-term goals, putting their plans on the shelf for awhile, delaying the vacation, using the money saved. But, they do what they have to do. They are responsible, like Joseph.

Are you one of the wisemen? A risk-taker? Do you see life as an adventure? When thereís a star shining significantly in the sky, do you wonder why? What is the message? The significance? Off you go, following the star, following the dream, leaving home, leaving the familiar, off on an adventure, walking in faith.

Are you Mary? Nothing pretentious, no one special, just an ordinary person, who all of a sudden finds herself playing a major role in the drama of all dramas. Called to be a mother; often over her head, not understanding what her son is doing, or who he is, shaking her head, pondering, sometimes overwhelmed, but persisting. After all, she is a mother, and mothers stick by their children.

And all of them, all of the characters in the drama called "Christmas", knelt at the manger, basking in the light, reflecting the light of the baby, and there they worshiped. "O come, let us adore him."

ã 1997 Douglas I. Norris