For me, Christmas always starts with lights – lots of lights. What can I say? I grew up in Virginia Beach, Virginia, home of the “Tacky Light” tour. I have an interesting theory: Brighter lights on the outside mean brighter, happier families inside. If true – our family is deliriously happy!
Recently I purchased one of those gadgets that will coordinate the flashing lights with popular Christmas carols. So, now when you come by our house you will see a cascade of lights blinking merrily in rhythm with the music.
People who know me shake their head, laugh and say, “That’s Larry.” Others, also shake their head and walk away wondering if this preacher needs professional help.
“Larry, why do you do it?”
I thought my lights were pretty unique until I heard about Steve Frazier in Rustburg, Virginia who strings up over forty thousand lights around his house starting in July. (Did you say July? Yes, I did.) In addition he purchased wildly expensive equipment and literally choreographs a show synchronizing the lights to holiday music. The Frazier house attracts thousands of visitors from all over the area who tune their car radios to an FM station and watch the lights groove to the music.
Isn’t this a little strange? Why does he do it?
In a recent newspaper article, Steve says: ” He loves standing outside the house and talking to people. It’s turned into almost a ministry. People open up to me and talk about everything.”
Well, the Wise Men found Jesus by following the light of an unusual star: “And the star they had seen in the east guided them to Bethlehem. It went ahead of them and stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were filled with joy!” (Matthew 2:9-10)
How about this?
Jesus said to the disciples and to us: “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 placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. (Matthew 5:14-15)
Admittedly, I don’t think the wise men followed 40,000 Christmas lights and I doubt Jesus was thinking about tacky lights when he said, “You are the light of the world,” but here is my point.
Sometimes we are called to let our light shine brightly so people can see who we are, what we believe and Who we serve. In the midst of sharing laughs about my tacky lights I often receive an opportunity to talk about my faith in God: Funny but true.
Of course there are many other ways to be a light where people will ask: Why do you do it?
· Why do you help a needy family every Christmas?
· Why are you always so nice to everyone at work?
· Why do you spend so much time at your church?
· Why do you host a Bible study at your house every Friday night?
We are called by Jesus to be the light of the world. What we do and say makes a difference in people’s lives whether it’s helping someone in need, sharing a laugh or spending time in prayer.
Speaking of lights, maybe if I start in July next year I can display may own tacky light tour. I’ll purchase a new sound board, buy a gigantic manger scene, put a star on the roof – (Groan!)
May God bless you with a grace-filled, light-filled 2011.