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Laura Nelson observes how something amazing happens when we let the light of Christ shine through us.

Short, dark winter days are NOT my favorite. Honestly, they’re hard on my mental health. Coming home from work after sunset makes me feel like I’ve just clocked a 12+ hour day even when I’ve worked eight hours or less! 

Luckily for me, this is the time of year when people start using light to decorate the outdoors. It’s amazing the impact that those decorations can have. Instead of driving home in the bleak, desolate winter, a few Christmas lights make the evening commute joyful. You could say that its effect on me is almost miraculous. 

When I was a child, we made luminarias out of empty food cans. By hammering a few nail holes in an old tin can we could make treasure out of trash. Of course, if you didn’t know what we were doing, it would look like we were ruining the cans. After all, a can with holes is pretty useless. You might think we were making trash out of trash instead of making treasure. But, something amazing happened when we put a candle inside the can and carefully lit it. Suddenly, the light from inside would shine through those broken holes we had created and would make something beautiful that would illuminate the path along our front walk.


heart luminaria


I’ve been thinking a lot about those cans with holes lately and the light that makes them so beautiful. I’ve also been thinking about the Light of Christ as we begin the season of Advent and my own need for repentance and healing. In many ways, you and I are broken “cans.” The pain and brokenness of this world can fill us full of holes making us feel useless and ready for the landfill. Then, Christ comes into us through His Word in Scripture, His forgiveness in Reconciliation, or His Presence in the Eucharist. Suddenly, our brokenness is made beautiful because His Light shines forth through us.

Jesus transforms us from useless-can-full-of-holes into beautiful spiritual luminarias shining His Light to the world and lighting the path for others. He takes us out of darkness and shares His transformative Light with us to transform us into something better. What’s even more amazing is that the more broken we are, the more His Light shines through us. You could say that His effect on us is miraculous.


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Jesus takes us out of darkness and shares His transformative Light with us to transform us into something better.


In the Gospel of John, Jesus said,

“I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12)


This Advent, I invite you to join me in remembering the gift of God’s Light as we prepare to celebrate the Coming of the Light at Christmas. Invite Christ into your brokenness so that His Light can shine through you and together you can be a source of beauty and light to the world. After all, you’re much more valuable and beautiful than a tin can. Just think what Jesus can do when He shines through you!


Christmas trees and fireworks

Copyright 2021 Laura Nelson
Images: Canva Pro