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Religious Reflections

The Light of the World

by Rev. Karen Helsel

Coming down out of the high desert into the Los Angeles Basin at night is a breath taking experience. You can begin to see a "glow" many miles before you reach the crest of the hills. After driving in darkness, lit only by God's nightlights, the horizon suddenly bursts into millions of twinkling lights, as you head down into the endless city.

Lights are common decorations at Christmas. They appear not only on trees and windows, but all over the place. One friend even has earrings that blink on and off with tiny bulbs.

Of course, in Sunnyside we understand lights, with our famous Lighted Implement Parade to usher in the Christmas season.

Funny movies have been made and remade about the Christmas Decorations Wars, where people try to outdo each other in putting up lights and lawn decorations. A recent news story told about a home one man described as "obscene" with so many decorations. The electricity bill was over $1,000.

The announcement of the birth of Jesus came to both shepherds and wise men with light. Lights got their attention. Lights guided them.

The scripture says that Jesus is the "light of the world." He is the One whose birth we celebrate at this season of lights. He came to dispel darkness, not by trickery, worldly fame or power. He dispels darkness simply by His presence. When you turn on a light, darkness disappears.

We have much darkness in our world and often in our own hearts, but we can know Jesus, the Light. When He enters our hearts in a personal way, the darkness fades and the light brightens day by day.

I want to allow more of His Light to permeate my own life this Christmas. What about you?

Rev. Karen Helsel is pastor of the Sunnyside Church of God

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