Recently, as I sat in the quiet darkness of my living room, looking at the beautiful Christmas lights, I remembered something that happened a few years ago. I have always put a single candle in the windows of my house at Christmas time. One year, however, I was tired and stressed and I just didn’t care to put up anything – no lights in the windows – nothing. But, I told myself this is the season to celebrate Jesus, at least put the candles in the windows – so I did.
The very next evening, after a long hard day, my doorbell rang and there stood a frantic young woman. She was shaking and crying, begging me for help. I brought her in and tried to console her and to figure out what was wrong.
She was traveling along I-64 from Ohio, had stopped in West Virginia to meet her estranged husband and do the Christmas “hand-off” of their small daughter. She was headed to Richmond where she had planned to spend the holiday with friends. She had been driving for an hour or so when her husband called to say they had been in an accident and he was “so sorry”. At that very point the line went dead. There was no cell phone service. She was in the mountains and it was dark. She took the first exit she came to and prayed that the Lord would show her where to stop and what to do. She said at that same time, she looked up and saw the candles in my windows. She knew this was the house she needed to stop at.
I held her, prayed with her and helped her get herself together. She had an idea of where the accident could have happened so I gave her the directions she would need to get there. The next morning, I received a text saying she had reunited with her family and that everyone was okay and thanking me for the candles in the windows and for helping her when she was so afraid.
Those candles were a light in the darkness. A welcoming light to a stranger.
Matthew 5:14-16 says “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 put on a stand where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way let your light shine before others so that everyone will praise your heavenly father.”
Sometimes we get so distracted or discouraged that we forget that we are the light of the world. We forget to let our light shine to others. We need to be the light God has called us to be. Whether it is taking the time to listen to someone, offer a hug, or pray with them. We can make a difference in someone else’s world, if we let our light shine.
I don’t know what happened to the young woman, but I still find myself praying for her and I know it was The Lord who brought her to my house and maybe there was a reason she was rerouted and ended up spending Christmas with her husband and child.
Whatever the reason, I now do not hesitate to put up those candles, and ask the Lord to help me remember to be a light to others, even when I don’t feel like it.
Carrie McAllister, January 2023