Please join me in welcoming guest author, Joy Bach. Joy was oppressed as a child, and at her mother's urging, married young—while she was still in high school. Her husband was controlling in the name of religion, and she found herself a single mother to three precious daughters. In the aftermath of the divorce, Joy was abandoned by her church, but in her season of darkness, Jesus reached out to her, and she discovered God’s love for the first time. Joy married again, this time to the love of her life. Joy’s newfound joy spills out into every aspect of her life and is evident in her writing.
In 2010 Joy began her blog with the goal of giving hope and encouragement to at least one person. (Joy has certainly far exceeded her goal.) In 2017 Joy celebrated her 75th birthday by releasing her first book. She recently celebrated her 80th birthday by submitting her fourth book to her publisher for publication.
Joy has the gift of taking the moments of her life, big or small, and writing them into stories to uplift and inspire others. Her stories fill the pages of her four books and can be found on her blog, Life Moments.
Joy has agreed to share her story, “Christmas Lights: Inner Joy,” from her book, The Challenge. This is a story that is sure to bless you and put you in the Christmas spirit.
Christmas Lights: Inner Joy
Have you ever tried to help small children untangle strings of Christmas lights? By the time you have the strings in a straight line ready for decorating, you would rather just throw them down and go read a book. It takes a special kind of parent to prevail. Then come the years when the children get selective. The lights need to be all white or blinking or have little bubbles in them that move upward as they shine.
All too soon the children are gone you have plenty of time to untangle the lights by yourself. It's just not the same.
My husband, John, and I own a business. Since it involves people's healthcare and insurance, we get busier and busier toward the end of each year, as they try to use their insurance coverage. This makes for some very long days and nights. The rush is over by Christmas and there is a huge lull until after New Year's.
One year we traveled to Texas to visit my brother and his wife between Christmas and New Year’s. The flight had its problems and we arrived late and very tired. One of us was more tired than the other. The next evening my brother loaded us all in his van and drove us around the Dallas area to look at the Christmas lights.
John promptly went to sleep. At first he was just emitting gentle noises. But as the tour of lights continued, the noises grew louder. Soon, the entertainment was inside the vehicle instead of outside. When our laughter finally woke him up, we called it a night and went home.
John and I had never decorated the outside of our house, so one year we splurged and bought strings and strings of outside lights to put on our pine trees in the front yard. We worked for several hours, getting them just right. And then we waited for darkness so we could view our handiwork.
When the sunlight had faded, we eagerly switched on our Christmas lights. How beautiful! Job accomplished, we returned to the house and closed the door. About an hour later, I looked out the bedroom window and the trees were all dark. What had gone wrong? Our investigation led to the conclusion the wires had been cut. No outside Christmas lights for us.
We never tried again.
Have you ever thought about the Christmas lights on that first Christmas? In Luke 2 it talks about an Angel of the Lord appearing to the shepherds. The radiance of the Lord's glory surrounded them. Just how bright do you think that was? And then suddenly that Angel was joined by a vast host (too many to be counted) of others. No wonder the shepherds were terribly frightened.
Those radiant beings were the world's first Christmas lights.
In Matthew 2:2 it talks about a star that rose in the sky, bringing wise men to Jerusalem in search of a newborn King. Then in verse 9 it says, “Once again the star appeared to them, guiding them to Bethlehem. It went ahead of them and stopped over the place where the child was.” Verse 10 says, “When they saw the star, they were filled with joy!”
Perhaps it was just as some say; a conjunction of Jupiter, Saturn, and Mars. Or just maybe God created a special star designed for this first Christmas night. According to the notes in my Bible, the wise men (astrologers) traveled thousands of miles following that particular star. It sounds like a very unique Christmas light.
Today it seems neighbors are in a competition to see who can have the most lights on their house and in their yard. That battle carries over to the inside of the house. The trees viewed through the windows are loaded with many varieties of lights. Mantles, window ledges, and stairway railings are included in the contest for the brightest display. Even though it seems a bit much to me, I say, “Go for it if you can still afford the electric bill!”
Just as the wise men were filled with joy when they saw the star, we need to have an inner joy when we see the Christmas lights. They only represent what needs to be a greater focus on the core reason for the season.
It's time to worship the King.
*Joy has generously agreed to donate her books to be given away in a drawing. If you are a subscriber to this blog, I will automatically enter you into the drawing as a thank you for your support. You may enter the drawing by subscribing to the email list for this blog.
Are you interested in purchasing one of Joy’s books? You can do that by clicking the following links:
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*Background image by Gerd Altman by Pixabay